Barrett strongly critical of university heads


SEANAD:MINISTER FOR Education Ruairí Quinn was asking the wrong people for advice in relation to the points system for university entrance, Sean Barrett (In) said. The Irish Universities Association did not represent anyone who gave lectures in Irish universities. It was the conference of the heads of universities under a new label.

“They would not know anything about who comes from school into first-year lectures because it is so long since they have given any lectures. I think the Minister has made a mistake in unwittingly giving them this status. Their views, in the first instance, that the Leaving Certificate was not a suitable qualification to go to university weren’t based on any direct experience.” Their failure to respond to the Minister in terms of putting forward new proposals was understandable, “because they literally would not know what they were talking about”.

There seemed to be something rather fawning about the language used in an Irish Times editorial about the issue facing Independent TD Mick Wallace, Ronan Mullen (In) said. Defrauding the State was wrong and he believed that a Dáil motion of censure should proceed as soon as possible. However, there seemed to be a certain surprising ambivalence in some media towards the individual in question.

Controversy surfaced over the pardon for Irish soldiers who deserted to fight for Britain during the second World War. Mark Daly (FF) said while he welcomed the pardon for those who had deserted for honourable reasons, it had to be remembered that if the British had invaded this country in 1940, those soldiers would have found themselves fighting against their former comrades in arms.

John Glory (Lab) described Mr Daly’s comments as ungracious. He would remind him that a former leader of his own party had gone to the German legation 67 years ago to shake hands with the representative of the greatest tyrant of the 20th century.