Tom Boland

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Academics should be  wary of dismissing people who hold “backward” views as being irredeemably ignorant. Photograph: iStock

What could be the connection between a pub in rural Galway, populism and higher education? First the pub. On a recent evening I enjoyed a conversation(...)

Tom Boland, former head of the Higher Education Authority, said  presidential candidate Peter Casey has demonstrated there is a constituency in Ireland for populism.   Photograph: Alan Betson

Populism poses a major threat to research and the autonomy of universities, a conference has heard. The first ever Irish Postgraduate Research Confer(...)

Angry bird: social media incentivises conflict over constructive dialogue. Photograph: Reuters

Just when did public debate become a game of trying to catch people out? Did it start with the Enlightenment and its focus on religious hypocrisy? Or (...)

The Government held its Cabinet in University College Cork earlier this year. Despite the smiles, there is a mutual distrust between the political system and higher education, argue Tom Boland and Ellen Hazelkorn.  Photo:  Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

For all the Cabinet meetings held on university campuses, the smiling photo ops of government ministers at launches and sod turnings, the fine phrases(...)

Many associate Donagh O’ Malley as the politician who brought us free education, and O’Malley’s role was indeed significant. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

This year is a very significant year in the history of education in Ireland, marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of free post-primary edu(...)

Minister for education Donogh O’Malley in 1966, the year he announced the introduction of free second-level education. Photograph: Eddie Kelly

It is 50 years since Fianna Fáil minister for education Donogh O’Malley announced plans for free second-level education. It was not a radical policy(...)

Protesters say they occupied the Department of Education head office in Dublin to highlight “inaction” regarding allegations of misconduct at University of Limerick (above). File photograph: Google Street View

A group of protesters occupied the Department of Education head office in Dublin on Monday to highlight “inaction” regarding allegations of misconduc(...)

Dr Graham Love, new chief executive of the Higher Education Authority: “These are challenging times for higher education, but there are also exciting opportunities.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The new chief executive of the Higher Education Authority has said there are “exciting opportunities” for universities and institutes of technology d(...)

Tom Boland, former head of the Higher Education Authority, says hostility among politicians towards higher education must end. Photograph: Alan Betson

Around the world populism and xenophobia offer extraordinary challenges to our democratic societies. Both feed on prejudice and baseless assertion.(...)

On paper, it is a golden opportunity for the State’s universities. The Republic’s soon to materialise status as the biggest English-speaking member o(...)

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