Saturday 29 July 2017

Kevin Myers: Lack of rigour among our academics is astounding

Kevin Myers

A measure of the utterly unprincipled submission of academic life to its primary ambition to be left alone was universities' failure to explore Ireland's role in the Great War

As the unicorn that is the National University of Ireland finally bites the dust, Peter Sutherland questions the existence of seven separate Irish universities, purporting to offer a full range of academic options. His scepticism about our third-level colleges is justified, though on grounds he has not cited. For all the part they play in national life, most of our universities may as well be sited in Oklahoma.

In virtually all of the major issues of intellectual and personal freedom which have been at the centre of life in Ireland, our academics have remained largely silent. For Trinity, much of this silence is because many of the staff are foreign, and -- with the honourable exceptions of academics such as Gerald Morgan and Sarah Alwyn Stacey -- do not wish to participate in the national life of the country they live in, which is fair enough. (In Trinity Common Room each morning, one can hear the rustle of the appointments pages of 'The Guardian' being fingered hungrily).

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