Thursday 25 April 2019

Protest over Ahern's professorship

Students protested over Bertie Ahern's appointment as visiting professor
Students protested over Bertie Ahern's appointment as visiting professor

Angry students have protested in NUI Maynooth over former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's appointment as visiting professor in mediation and conflict studies.

About 1,200 people, including lecturers, signed a petition opposing the university's decision to invite Mr Ahern to take up the honorary, unpaid role.

"This demonstration cannot be ignored," a spokesman for the Free Education for Everyone (FEE) campaign said.

"Students and staff have made it perfectly clear they do not want Bertie Ahern awarded an Honorary Adjunct Professorship on our campus."

But NUI Maynooth defended the appointment insisting it was a reflection of the work Mr Ahern did in Northern Ireland and on the European Union's Nice Treaty.

"It is entirely appropriate for NUI Maynooth to acknowledge the former Taoiseach's mediation skills and benefit from his unique experience in the context of the work he did, in particular on the Nice Treaty and in bringing peace to Northern Ireland," the university said.

FEE spokesman Donal Fallon spearheaded the NUI Maynooth campaign and attacked the appointment of Mr Ahern over his stewardship of the economy and investigation by the planning tribunal.

He said 250 people marched on President Professor John Hughes' office to deliver the petition.

"If hundreds of students will show up merely to hand in a petition, how many will protest Bertie's physical presence here?" he said.

Mr Fallon added: "Our campus is not a place for Fianna Fail photoshoots, it is an academic institution. Bertie Ahern being awarded an Honorary Adjunct Professorship would be an insult to all those who have been awarded such positions in the past from third level institutions."

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