Archive for Paddy Healy

Paddy Healy Seanad Election Address

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

“Paddy Healy, Former President, TUI, Independent Candidate for Seanad Eireann, Tireless Campaigner for Education and Public Services …” (more)

[The Cedar Lounge Revolution, 21 March]


Academic Freedom and Campus Dissent

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , , on 12 February 2011 by Steve

Invitation – All Welcome: Academic Freedom and Campus Dissent

As part of our on-going commitment to the project of ‘Enabling Dissent: the Creation of a Civil Society’, The Centre for Public Culture Studies, IADT, the Clinton Institute UCD, and the Dept of Film Studies UCD, are hosting a special event on the 15th of February 2011, at 6.30 pm. We invite you to presentations from our guest panel, followed by discussion and input from the audience:

Panel Speakers:

Chair: Paddy Healy, Former President, Teachers’ Union of Ireland

Professor Stephen Shapiro, University of Warwick: Academic Freedom and Campus Dissent in the UK

Dr. Paula Gilligan, Centre for Public Cultures, IADT: ‘Flexicurity/Insecurity’, New Managerial Cultures and Academic Freedom

Aidan Rowe, Free Education for Everyone, NUIM: Academic Freedom and Campus Dissent – the Student Perspective

This event proposes to ask academics and students to reflect on what role they can have in a society which is shifting to the Right, and what role they can have in ‘speaking truth to power’ in today’s academic institutions?

We invite all students and academics to participate in the discussion, to bring along or email questions, and/or brief discourses on the topic. We also propose to expand the discussions on our website.

Date: Tuesday the 15th of February 2011, William Jefferson Clinton Auditorium, UCD, Belfield. IADT students meet at 5 pm at the IADT gates to get 46a bus.

To book a place: email To email questions for the panel: email

Statement by Campaign for academic Freedom in Reply to Irish Universities Association

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 12 February 2011 by Steve

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) issued a statement on February 4 in response to a call to defend the principle of tenure on which academic freedom is based. This call, signed by 160 academics, was published in the Irish Times on January 20.

We note that the IUA has no authority to speak on behalf of Irish universities. It is a private company of which the seven university presidents are directors.

In its response, the IUA could have given clear assurances that it was opposed to any changes to the relevant clauses in the Universities Act. As the law of the land trumps industrial relations processes, we would have taken considerable comfort from such a declaration.

As it is, however, the IUA makes no such declaration. Indeed, the IUA statement is replete with ambiguity and dissimulation. Most remarkably, it suggests that the principle of tenure might be seen as protecting academics from dismissal for misconduct, though this is not the case.

The IUA statement is causing increased concern in the academic community.

Steve Hedley, Professor of Law at UCC, and a signatory to the call, has given a detailed reply to the statement on the blog Ninth Level Ireland.

The IUA states: “What we must do as a foundation for that defence (of academic freedom – PH), is to distinguish between freedom and licence. This is what we are seeking to do in the proposed contractual provision which states that it is to be acknowledged that the freedoms which are contained in Section 14 of the Universities Act are to be exercised in the context of the framework of rights and obligations contained in the contract.”

It should be understood that the contract to which the IUA refers is not the existing contract but a new contract to be put in place pursuant to the Public Services Agreement (Croke Park Deal).

Steve Hedley comments: “The other, and more pessimistic, interpretation (of the IUA statement – PH) is that academic contracts are to be read as limiting the guarantee in the Universities Act – in other words, that academic freedom should only exist to the extent that each academic’s contract allows for it. This is extremely worrying. Academic freedom is, in large part, freedom from university management – and so is not worth much if it can be removed by a simple clause in an employment contract, drafted by that same university management. I don’t know what is intended here; and I certainly hope that this reading is wrong. But if the object of the statement was to reassure, then it has failed in its object.”

On the question of tenure the IUA states: “Here, we are seeking to establish that tenure is consistent with the established corpus of employment law and, in that context, refers to the duration of contract. However, the concept of tenure dates from a time when employment law was much less well developed. We now have a national legal framework incorporating, inter alia, the Unfair Dismissals and Fixed Term Workers Acts which provide considerable protections to employees generally. We strongly support employment security for staff.”

Steve Hedley comments:

“With that introduction, the IUA statement gives a number of reasons why tenure is positively undesirable. Tenure is an ‘amorphous concept which somehow subsists in a parallel realm’ to the rest of employment law; this ‘creates ambiguity, and at worst, creates the impression that tenure will be advanced to create an absolute prohibition on dismissal or sanction, even in the worst and thankfully extremely rare cases of misconduct’ … The solution is ‘to establish that tenure is consistent with the established corpus of employment law and, in that context, refers to the duration of contract’. This seems to mean that tenure, properly understood, should only mean that each academic’s contract lasts as long as it lasts – in other words, that ‘tenure’ is to be all but meaningless, adding nothing to ordinary employment rights.”

To be clear: the signatories of the January 20 letter never suggested that tenure could or should preclude disciplinary procedures in cases of misconduct and/or breach of duty. Academics have never been “unsackable” on foot of such allegations as some commentators and propagandists have claimed. Nor have they been absolutely free to exercise their academic freedom (or responsibility?) to defend academic values without fear or favour. As a number of documented Irish cases show, some of them have been subjected to harassment and intimidation for speaking out in defence of academic standards and intellectual integrity, even if they haven’t been subjected to the ultimate silencing, namely redundancy.

It is because tenure confers immunity from this ultimate abuse of power that it is internationally recognised as essential to academic freedom by UNESCO and by other international bodies such as Education International. And it is because academic freedom as currently protected by Irish law is such a fundamental principle of democracy that all repressive regimes have sought to eliminate or to limit that freedom.

Instead of allaying the concerns that we expressed in our original letter, the IUA response has heightened them.

Following persistent work by the IFUT Branch, the Board of Trinity College has already issued a declaration in support of academic freedom and tenure in December 2010.

We therefore call now on the governing authorities of all academic institutions to dissociate themselves from the IUA statement and to issue a similar declaration.

Paddy Healy 086-4183732
Convenor of Gathering for Academic Freedom
On behalf of the Signatories to the Call
88 Griffith Court,
Dublin 3

Academic freedom – is it really under threat?

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues with tags , , , on 7 February 2011 by Steve

“A large lobby group of academics – including several top scholars – says yes, while the seven university presidents emphatically say no …” (more)

[Education Matters, 7 February]

Teacher’s Pet

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues with tags , , , on 25 January 2011 by Steve

“That increasingly bitter clash between two education heavyweights is the talk of the sector. In the one corner, UCD president, Hugh Brady (pictured). In the other, the chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, Tom Boland …” (more)

[Irish Times, 25 January]

In defence of academic freedom

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 24 January 2011 by Steve

“This is the opening speech by Paddy Healy (former President of the Teachers Union of Ireland) delivered to the meeting of Irish academics on January 22 in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 24 January]

Co-ordinated university attack on staff conditions

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

“… Under attack are academic freedom (to be restricted), flexible work (staff are to be at their desks five days a week, despite the fact that most academics work far more than 40-hour weeks, often from home or from wherever their research, involvement in policy-making and contribution to the community takes them), holidays (all entitlements are to be removed beyond statutory holidays, which staff will have to apply for with no security …) …” (more)

[Indymedia Ireland, 6 January]

Will Third Level Education be Irretrievably Damaged Like The Banks

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , , , on 3 January 2011 by Steve

“Following conversations with colleagues in various universities, I now have a reasonable idea of the demands on unions being made by the University authorities under the Croke Park Deal. These demands confirm the predictions in my e-mail message but go even further. I include these demands towards the end of this piece …” (more)

[Paddy Healy’s Blog, 3 January]

Push to increase teaching load

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 31 December 2010 by Steve

“Madam, – Your Education Correspondent, Seán Flynn (Home News, December 29th) referred to a message I sent to colleagues in institutes of technology recently. He also quoted Prof Von Prondzynski, who is not from our sector, as saying that holidays in institutes of technology were ‘hard to defend’ …” (more)

[Paddy Healy, Irish Times, 31 December]

Third level staff being ‘bludgeoned’ on concessions

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , on 29 December 2010 by Steve

“Academic staff in third-level colleges are being ‘bludgeoned into submission’ and forced to accept key concessions including much shorter summer holidays, a former president of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said …” (more)

[Seán Flynn, Irish Times, 29 December]

Terms and conditions of employment in Irish higher education

Posted in Governance and administration with tags , , , on 19 December 2010 by Steve

“One of the great uncertainties in higher education right now is how academic terms and conditions may change in the future. This is made more complicated by the fact that such terms are very loosely, if at all, defined in the universities …” (more)

[Ferdinand von Prondzynski, University Blog, 19 December]