Protecting academic freedom seen as key


SEANAD REPORT:ACADEMIC FREEDOM must be protected in view of the fact that some of the important criticisms of what had been happening in this country in recent years had come from people in academia rather than from the Oireachtas, Rónán Mullen (Ind) said.

One hundred and fifty academics had criticised proposals in the Croke Park agreement, which they claimed would pose a serious threat to academic freedom.

Referring to a letter published in The Irish Times, Mr Mullen said its signatories had said there was a threat to the right to permanency and tenure to retirement age, which was the bedrock on which academic freedom rested. He thought it was very important that academic freedom would not be undermined when one considered the sources of criticisms of the way the country had been governed.

The definition of the right of academic tenure should not be achieved at the expense of the rights of those holding temporary positions, he also argued.

It was sickening that former Foreign Affairs minister Micheál Martin was to benefit from a €95,000 severance package, Fidelma Healy-Eames (Fine Gael) said. “He should give it up at a time when 1,000 people a week are leaving Ireland and looking for work abroad.”

Meanwhile, the Government was trying to bring in a climate change Bill that would further decimate our economy.

Nicky McFadden (FG) said she had been contacted by a young working widow who was trying to put two children through college. She was now down €350 a month. It was galling for her to see ministers retiring on such terms.

Ivana Bacik (Labour) welcomed the publication of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Bill.