Academic warns on college funding cuts


The financial base of Irish universities is being undermined by decisions on fees and reductions in State funding, according to DCU president professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony held by the university today, the professor said efforts by Irish third-level institutions to promote the value of research had been undermined by the McCarthy report, which questioned the usefulness of spending in this area.

This was happening at a time when five Irish universities were ranked among the 300 in the world.

Professor von Prondzynski also suggested there was evidence that the autonomy of universities was being undermined.

"These developments go to the heart of what allows our universities to offer quality and to support Ireland’s bid to escape from recession.

If we downgrade out universities, undermine their financial viability, cut their research and control them centrally, they will cease to be a magnet for international investment in Ireland. Ireland’s drive to recover prosperity and growth will not succeed so easily”, he said.

He said decision-makers did not appear to understand the role of universities in a modern country.

“It has not been adequately recognised, but the strength and vitality of our universities are the main instrument we have for national recovery. Unless this is understood, we are doomed to return to the experience of the 1970s and 1980s of economic decline and national crisis.”