Huawei and academic freedom

 

Sir, – Further to your article “Huawei chief criticises academic’s ‘false attack’ over 5G security risks” (News, February 24th), we the academic staff of UCD School of Politics and International Relations note that the head of Huawei Ireland, Tony Yangxu, has taken the highly unusual step of writing to the secretary general of the Department of Defence, copied to Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney, in relation to an article published by our colleague Dr Richard Maher.

According to your report, Mr Yangxu’s letter called for the Irish Government’s “full support in mitigating the damage that has been done”, so that it did not “contaminate” Ireland and Huawei’s collective future.

We believe that this amounts to a direct threat to academic freedom of inquiry and comment in Ireland.

Dr Maher’s paper is based on solid norms of academic scholarship and represents a reasoned inference from the research evidence. The paper was subject to peer review in line with widely accepted academic standards. Moreover, his conclusions are entirely consistent with a large body of analogous scholarship in this field.

The UCD School of Politics and International Relations fully supports the right of Dr Maher to pursue his research free from threats by powerful companies or political actors.

We call on the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris to reaffirm publicly the rights of academics in Ireland to research and disseminate their findings freely.

We also ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Simon Coveney to reaffirm publicly that the Government will not allow Ireland’s relationship to China to be used as a justification for restricting academic freedom. – Yours, etc,

Prof DAVID

FARRELL, MRIA

and staff of UCD School

of Politics and International

Relations,

Belfield,

Dublin 4.