17th July – Micheál Martin calls for a separate Department of Higher Education and Research at IUA Future of Ireland Event – Download full speech

Irish Universities Association calls for increased investment across core funding and research and innovation

Micheál Martin TD

Wednesday 17th July – Speaking at the Irish Universities Association (IUA) inaugural Future of Ireland series, Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin called for the creation of a separate Department of Higher Education and Research and for clarity and certainty around core funding. Micheál Martin also highlighted the need to tackle the funding of the innovation gap between large and small enterprises, and the need for fostering diversity and accessibility within higher education.

Speaking about the need to separate higher education from the Department of Education, Micheál Martin said: “I believe the time has come to consider separating higher education from the Department of Education.  Our first and second-level systems face rising demands to address vital issues such as diversity and inclusion” he continued, “The creation of a separate Department of Higher Education and Research might be the only way to guarantee both a real priority for this area and to provide strategic leadership.  Such a Department would have critical mass in terms of size and budget and would mean that for the first time we would have a senior political and administrative leadership whose sole responsibility would be to focus on higher education and the wider research and knowledge agenda.”

On the core funding of higher education, Micheál stated that: “The harsh reality is that our higher education and research system is at a moment of truth.  Important measures are going in the wrong direction and there is an undeniable funding crisis which may cause real damage to participation and quality within the system.” He stated that: “In terms of the core funding of higher education, the system needs clarity and certainty.  We have to end the permanent insecurity about what each year will bring.  How can institutions be expected to manage staff and implement long-term plans if they lack basic financial security? Funding needs to be based on a transparent approach to providing the resources necessary to deliver quality education.”

Leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin with Dr Lisa Keating, Director of Research and Innovation at IUA and Prof. Brian MacCraith, Chair of IUA and President of DCU.

Commenting on Micheál Martin’s speech, Jim Miley, Director General of the IUA said: “Given his history in policy and in supporting third level education, I’m delighted to welcome Micheál Martin as the inaugural speaker at out Future of Ireland series. I welcome Micheál’s comments that there is an undeniable funding crisis and the need for greater state contribution on core funding. It is positive to see the recognition Micheál expressed on the demands the increasing demographic bulge will place on higher education in the immediate future”.

“In conclusion the IUA welcomes Micheál’s contribution to raising awareness of the role of third level education and research in shaping the Future of Ireland. The IUA looks forward to engaging across the political, economic and social spectrum on this very important topic.”


Download full speech: 

Micheál-Martin-TD-Speech-17-July-IUA-Future-of-Ireland-Event.pdf (76 downloads)


Watch full speech at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8cIg0evKd8

For more information contact:

Lia O’Sullivan

Head of Communications, Irish Universities Association

lia.osullivan@iua.ie; +353 (0)1 676 4948 I Direct: +353 (0)85 7141414 


Louise Walsh

Drury Porter Novelli

louise.walsh@drurypn.ie; +353 (0)1 260 5000 I Direct: +353 (0)87 7757725