EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has rowed in to defend Irish universities after all seven missed out on the top 100 global ranking.
The highest-ranking college, Trinity College Dublin (TCD), came in around the 200 mark.
University College Dublin, University College Cork and Dublin City University were all ranked around 300th.
Universities from the US and Britain came top.
The WRR rankings are based on annual surveys of almost 11,000 academics who are asked to choose the top 15 universities worldwide in their specific area of expertise. The top five were all American or British.
Minister Quinn said that the global reputation of the Irish third-level sector is enviable.
"There are between 13,000 and 15,000 universities worldwide. All of the seven Irish universities are in the top 600. I think that is far more important. The overall reputation of Ireland is very high.
"It is the quality of the education that people get here and the amount of important research that is going on in Ireland that really matters."
And he insisted that Irish universities "punch well above their weight" in global terms.
He said it should be noted that all seven Irish universities finished in the top 600 despite the fact there are over 15,000 colleges operating worldwide.
He said it was more important that all Irish universities finished in the top section of the study than one or two made it into the top 100 by spending vast sums to artificially enhance their education profile.
"The criteria for this was reputation. What reputation do Irish universities have? That was the sole question. It is a qualitative not a quantitative criteria. There were no measurements," he said.
"They asked a few thousand academics what was their opinion. Some of them had never been to Ireland."