Saturday 23 February 2019

Walsh gets no response from NUI in row over honour for Cowen

Dr Edward Walsh
Dr Edward Walsh
Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

The founding president of the University of Limerick is sending his honorary doctorate in the post back to the National University of Ireland, after failing to receive a formal response.

Dr Edward Walsh said that he was "surprised" that he has not received a reply in writing from the Chancellor of the National University of Ireland (NUI), Dr Maurice Manning, after he wrote to him nearly a fortnight ago.

He outlined that it was his intention to rescind the honour in protest after the same accolade went to former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, whom Dr Walsh feels is "totally unworthy" of it, after "bringing the country to its knees".

He told the 'Limerick Leader' that he intends to send a letter along with the parchment in the post, noting that it should be put on the record the circumstances surrounding its return.

Dr Walsh, who led UL for 28 years from its infancy, said he regards Dr Manning as "a good friend, an excellent gentleman and a very fine person".

"I am just sorry that he is probably embarrassed by the position he finds himself in," he added.

Dr Manning declined to debate the issue with Dr Walsh in a recent 'Today with Sean O'Rourke' show on RTÉ Radio One.

In a separate segment, Dr Manning said Dr Walsh's request "is a first".

"Nobody else has given their degree back and we don't have any protocol for it. He can send them back to us and we'll keep them in a safe place if he changes his mind."

Dr Manning said while they can "remove his name from the roll [of recipients], we can't un-doctor a doctor".

He added that any time future editions of the roll are printed Dr Walsh's name won't be included, if that continues to be his request.

Dr Manning rejected suggestions the NUI acted imprudently in honouring Mr Cowen.

Irish Independent

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