After Saturday, le déluge?

I think we had better start looking at what may be about to happen in Ireland. As I have mentioned in a previous post, right now negotiations are taking place between the two parties who (with some independent members of the parliament) make up the government of this country right now. The Fianna Fail negotiators have been presented by the Greens with a list of demands, most of which are focused on more public expenditure and fewer or even no cuts. This is, as far as I can see, balanced only by demands for higher taxation for the rich. I have no idea what Fianna Fail is taking to these discussions, but I imagine that fiscal prudence is right there in the party’s folder. Actually in truth I don’t really know what anyone is bringing to the discussions, because the Fianna Fail and the Green Party websites aren’t disclosing anything. In fact, they don’t have as much as a brief comment on all this, so you might actually begin to believe it’s not happening at all. But it’s happening all right, and the outcome of all this will be settled on Saturday, when Green Party members have to approve that revised programme by a two-thirds majority if it is to be adopted.

What rather scares me in all this is that the Greens appear to me to have issued a set of completely impossible demands, which they must have known are likely to prove unacceptable to their partners. So either Fianna Fail reject them, in which case the Green Party leadership will surely find it hard to persuade members to vote for staying in government; or else Fianna Fall agrees, or there is a compromise, in which case various changes and reforms come to an end, with perhaps damaging consequences for Ireland’s reputation.

Why does all this matter to me? Because there are several processes under way in the higher education sector that have the capacity to subject it to fundamental change. They are the higher education strategic review, the discussion about tuition fees (and a decision on this expected very shortly), the reform of quality assurance oversight, and so on. Some of these initiatives will fall with the government, if this is what happens. As a result, it would be likely that urgent higher education decisions will be long-fingered. Of course there will be no pause in the impact of the recession. And this is a combination of things that we cannot afford.

Well, all we can do is wait and see.

Explore posts in the same categories: higher education, politics

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4 Comments on “After Saturday, le déluge?”

  1. […] that list, there has been something of a veil of silence surrounding developments since then (also noted by Ferdinand von Prondzynski this morning). This morning’s Irish Times, however, informs us […]

  2. Aoife Citizen Says:

    Banking shares are pretty steady today; the market, at least, doesn’t expect a general election.

  3. Ciarán Says:

    “Fianna Fall”

    ^An unfortunate typo or a prescient one?

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