Archive for Fine Gael

Tuition fees off new government’s agenda

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 16 March 2011 by Steve

“The two political parties making up the newly-elected government in Ireland – Fine Gael and Labour – have avoided a major row between them by agreeing to yet another review of the controversial issue of student funding …” (more)

[John Walshe, University World News, 16 March]


Academics criticise Government plan

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 16 March 2011 by Steve

“A team of academics has criticised elements of the Programme for Government, claiming its proposals to reform local government and elections are weak …” (more)

[Independent, 16 March]

Full list of new Enda Kenny’s Cabinet

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 9 March 2011 by Steve

“The full list of the make-up of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s new cabinet: Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs and Trade – Eamon Gilmore; Finance – Michael Noonan; …” (more)

[Irish Times, 9 March]

Teacher’s Pet

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 8 March 2011 by Steve

“Labour is expected to secure the education brief when the new Cabinet is named tomorrow – although nothing is certain. The Education portfolio will only be assigned after other ‘more important jobs’’ in Finance, Foreign Affairs, Health, Public Service Reform and Enterprise are allocated …” (more)

[Irish Times, 8 March]

Programme for Government 2011-2016 – implications for 3rd level education

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 6 March 2011 by Steve

The full programme is here. What follows are extracts relating particularly to 3rd level education. I have marked key terms in bold to make this (rather dense) stuff easier to read.

“We will – within the first 100 days – resource a Jobs Fund which will … [amongst other things] expand eligibility for the back to education allowance”. (pp7-8)

“We will a develop new graduate and apprentice internship scheme, work placement programmes and further education opportunities for our young unemployed providing an additional 60,000 places across a range of schemes and initiatives. We will provide a range of initiatives to increase access to further higher level education for the unemployed.” (p8)

“We will replace FAS with a new National Employment and Entitlements Service so that all employment and benefit support services will be integrated in a single delivery unit managed by the Department of Social Protection … It will process citizen entitlements such as supplementary welfare allowances, higher education grants and welfare allowances.” (p8)

“We will actively develop the export of educational services.” (p9)

“We will develop a National Intellectual Property (IP) protocol to give predictability about the terms on which business can access IP created in Higher Education Institutions and the wider digital sector.” (p9)

“We will promote and support investment in technology research, development and commercialisation beyond basic research supported by Science Foundation Ireland, as well as removing barriers to innovation and accelerate exploitation of new technologies. We will target key technology areas and sectors where innovation can be applied including but not limited to high value manufacturing, advanced materials, nanotechnology, bioscience, electronics, photonics and electrical systems and information and communication technology.” (p10)

“The critical gap between basic research promoted and funded by Science Foundation Ireland and third level institutions and its subsequent development into commercial opportunity for investors can only be closed by making new technologies ‘investment ready’. We will establish a network of Technology Research Centres focused on applied technological research in specific areas, to be linked to appropriate higher education institutions. The centres will accelerate exploitation of new technologies by providing infrastructure that bridges gap between research and technology commercialisation. We will initially establish 3 additional centres focussing on biotechnology, nanotechnology and high value manufacturing. Further centres from a number of other areas will be selected at a later time.” (p10)

“A National Strategy for International Education will be implemented, to develop the ‘Education Ireland’ brand, to encourage more international students to study here and to create new jobs in the sector. Our objective will be to double number of international students studying in Ireland, particularly targeting students from India, China and the Middle East. This policy will be pursued in line with employment, academic and skill requirements of overall economy and education sector. We will overhaul the student visa system and ensure advertising, diaspora policies and quality assurance systems are strategically developed to best position the international education sector. We will permit postgraduate students to be allowed work here for up to a year after they complete their studies. High-value research students will be permitted to bring families if they are staying more than two years.” (p13)

“As part of our fiscal strategy the new Government will: … Undertake a full review of the Hunt and OECD reports into third level funding before end of 2011. Our goal is to introduce a funding system that will provide third level institutions with reliable funding but does not impact access for students”  (pp16-17)

“We propose a radical extension of the parliamentary question system, so that it shall be a statutory duty on any body established by or under statute, or with a majority ownership or funding by the State, to submit to the same parliamentary questions regime as applies to Government departments. This will involve a liability to provide answers to written questions within a specified number of Dáil sitting days.” (p19)

“In addition we propose a new procedure for answering oral questions by state bodies. The chief executive of every state funded body will be required to attend the relevant Oireachtas committee on a regular basis to answer oral parliamentary questions that can be submitted by any member, on a similar basis to the attendance of Ministers before the full Dáil.” (p19)

Public bodies will be required to openly compete for budget resources by publishing pre-budget spending requests, and what they would deliver in return for such allocations to help deliver Programme for Government.We will conduct a Comprehensive Spending Review to examine all areas of public spending, based on the Canadian model, and to develop multi-annual budget plans with a three-year time horizon. This plan will be presented to the Dáil for debate.” (p24)

“We will, subject to there being no compulsory redundancies and to the protection of front line services: Reduce the total number of public sector employees by between 18,000 and 21,000 by 2014, compared to the total number at the end of 2010. Reduce this number by a further 4,000 by 2015.” (p28)

“We will legislate to regulate stem cell research.” (p38)

“We will legislate for post-mortem procedures and organ retention practices as recommended by the Madden report.” (p38)

“This Government’s ambition is to build a knowledge society. Education is at the heart of a more cohesive, more equal and more successful society, and it will be the engine of sustainable economic growth. Ireland has experienced a decline in educational outcomes in recent years. We will draw from top performing education models like Finland to reverse this trend. Even in our country’s crisis, we can make progress in education and protect frontline services.” (p39)

“Maths and science teaching at second level will be reformed, including making science a compulsory Junior Cert subject by 2014. Professional development for maths and science teachers will be prioritised.” (p40)

“A bonus points system for maths, which is linked to specific maths or science courses, will be introduced to encourage greater participation in courses where skills shortages currently exist.” (p40)

“We will review the recommendations of Hunt report on higher education. A reform of third level will be driven by the need to improve learning outcomes of undergraduate degree students, as well as providing high quality research. We will initiate a time-limited audit of level 8 qualifications on offer and learning outcomes for graduates of these courses. We will introduce radical reform in third level institutions to maximise existing funding, in particular reform of academic contracts and will encourage greater specialisation by educational institutions. We support the relocation of DIT to Grangegorman as resources permit. We will explore the establishment of a multi campus Technical University in the South East. We will extend the remit of Ombudsman to third level institutions. We will merge the existing accreditation authorities; National Qualifications Authority, FETAC and HETAC to increase transparency.” (p43)

“Lifelong learning, community education and vocational training for jobseekers will be a high priority. We will expand training options for jobseekers across the VEC, further and higher education sectors to facilitate upskilling of the labour force. We will address the widespread and persistent problem of adult literacy through the integration of literacy in vocational training and through community education.” (p43)

FG to get the prize of finance ministry

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 5 March 2011 by Steve

“… The minister for public sector reform is a new role and will take in a large chunk of responsibilities currently enjoyed by the Department of Finance and other agencies. The minister will have an overarching remit across all government departments and will be responsible for implementing the changes agreed in the Croke Park agreement …” (more)

[Fionnan Sheahan and others, Independent, 5 March]

USI reminds Labour Party of pre-election promises

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 2 March 2011 by Steve

“The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has warned that students will not forget if the Labour Party fails to fulfil its promises regarding third level fees …” (more)

[Education Matters, 2 February]

Graduate tax will push poorer students away from college

Posted in Fees and access with tags , on 2 March 2011 by Steve

“Fine Gael is proposing a radical rise in the charges for third-level education. Its manifesto states that its plan involves a graduate contribution from students of roughly a third of the cost of their course …” (more)

[Independent, 2 March]

Teacher fury over FG plan to publish exam results

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 2 March 2011 by Steve

“Parents could soon be able to check the Leaving Cert grades of each school. The new Fine Gael-led Government is set to find itself on a collision course with teachers over its plan …” (more)

[Independent, 2 March]

‘Third Level Fees must be a Red Line Issue in Government Negotiations’ – USI

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 1 March 2011 by Steve

“The Union of Student in Ireland (USI) has warned that third level fees must be a red line issue during Government negotiations ahead of the inception of the 31st Dáil …” (more)

[Union of Students in Ireland, 1 March]

Irish election raises questions for stem cell research

Posted in research with tags , , on 28 February 2011 by Steve

“The Fianna Fail party, in power in Ireland since 1997, had supported science well enough over the last decade or so to allow the small country to dramatically raise its international profile. This year it even scraped into the top twenty science-producing countries in terms of citations per research paper. Irish scientists now have to worry about whether this progress will be maintained under Fine Gael …” (more)

[Alison Abbott, The Great Beyond, 28 February]

Fine Gael should be tearing up the Croke Park deal

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 27 February 2011 by Steve

“… With €50bn of the bailout needed to fund public pay and pension liabilities – mainly of existing staff – and a further €100bn in future liabilities, the cost of the bank bailout, awful though it is, pales in comparison. But, unlike the banks, politicians depend utterly on the public service. Our new emperor isn’t to blame for this. But his pension entitlement as a former teacher is a symbol of an age-old problem …” (more)

[Marc Coleman, Independent, 27 February]

FG’s plan to ‘tax’ graduates faces legal challenge

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , on 25 February 2011 by Steve

“A Fine Gael-led government will face a High Court challenge if it proceeds with plans to make 40,000 students starting college in the autumn pay back part of the cost of sending them to third level …” (more)

[John Walshe, Independent, 25 February]

Stem Cell Research

Posted in Legal issues, research with tags , on 21 February 2011 by Steve

“Fine Gael policy department confirmed to me today that they are opposed to embryological stem cell research. I specifically asked if that means that Fine Gael in government will defund existing stem cell research …” (discussion thread)

[, 21 February]

Fine Gael set to top student voting trends

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , on 21 February 2011 by Steve

“Fine Gael may already be set to score a runaway victory in Friday’s general election, but the party’s broad appeal has been underlined by a new student poll which showed that it was set to win more support from Ireland’s third-level students than any other party …” (more)

[, 21 February]

Poll: Students prefer loan scheme to FG’s graduate tax

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 21 February 2011 by Steve

“The majority of young people do not support Fine Gael’s proposals for a ‘graduate tax’ and instead favour a loan scheme to fund third level education. An Irish Examiner-Red C poll found more students would prefer to pay up-front fees than be burdened with extra taxes when they enter the workforce …” (more)

[Mary Regan, Irish Examiner, 21 February]

Enda speaks

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , on 19 February 2011 by Steve

“Enda Kenny has described as ‘preposterous’ Labour’s plans for 3rd level funding saying it would lead to ‘exorbitant, higher taxes’ #ge11” (tweet)

[RTÉ Election, Twitter, 19 February]

FG’s uncosted graduate tax will lead to brain drain out of Ireland

Posted in Fees and access with tags , , , , on 19 February 2011 by Steve

“The Labour Party is today launching a new campaign opposing Fine Gael’s proposals for backdoor third level fees, or a ‘graduate tax’ …” (more)

[Labour Party Blog, 19 February]

TUI chief warns of ‘serious’ FG threat

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 19 February 2011 by Steve

“The head of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has become the latest senior trade union figure to advise members of the dangers of electing Fine Gael to Government …” (more)

[Stephen Rogers, Irish Examiner, 19 February]

Fine Gael’s stance on Stem Cell research

Posted in research with tags , on 17 February 2011 by Steve

“This has been floating around Twitter, someone on sent FG an email asking them about a few social issues and got this response …” (discussion thread)

[, 17 February]