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Academic freedom

- "Members of the media should note that Professor Morgan Kelly is not a staff member of the ESRI. While this article has been accepted for publication by the ESRI, the views expressed are not the views of the ESRI."

This legend accompanied the ESRI circulation of the article by Morgan Kelly in July 2007 predicting the property bubble bursting.

Professor Richard Tol, who recently left the ESRI, is right when he says: "The institute did issue warnings about policy during the Ahern years, but did not do so loudly enough."

In fact, the warnings were so understated as to be totally ineffective.

The allegations of lack of independence and absence of academic freedom for researchers at ESRI by Mr Tol are a very serious matter for Irish citizens. The institute is largely funded by the State.

Citizens are entitled to expect full and unbiased information in economic matters.

The remedy for this extremely unsatisfactory situation follows from the remark by Mr Tol: "In a university, you can say what you like if you behave responsibly. It's not the same with the ESRI."

Clearly the ESRI should be subsumed into a university or other institute where academic freedom is either guaranteed by law or enshrined in contracts of employment.

Paddy Healy

Fairview, Dublin 3

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