Minister Batt O’Keeffe announced this afternoon that the Government has decided to scrap the National University of Ireland. UC Dublin, UC Cork, NUI Maynooth and NUI Galway were the constituent colleges. The total number of universities in Ireland has thus been increased, at a stroke, from four to seven. Ireland should now soar up the universities-per-capita league tables.
Sadly, it will no longer be possible for the NUI to play the role envisioned for it in the 1950s by Flann O’Brien (Myles na Gopaleen). He ended an Irish Times controversy about academic snobbery and the excessive use of academic titles by proposing that NUI should simply confer doctorates on all Irish citizens at birth. Although the government appears to have embarked on a slower progress toward the same destination.
There will now be a difficulty in arranging the next Seanad election, for which the graduates of NUI form a constituency. Unless of course….