Lack of career structure in the area of medical research

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of Senator Sean Barrett’s private member’s Bill Universities (Development and Innovation) (Amendment) Bill 2015] I thank Senator Barrett for allowing me the privilege of seconding this worthy legislative proposal. If and when somebody sits down to write the history of this Seanad, he or she will acknowledge that … Continue reading

Problems in the structure of Irish medical education

14-05 John Speaking 2

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014] I will shamelessly take the opportunity of having the Minister held captive in the Chamber to make a cri de coeur to her in her new capacity as Minister for Education and Skills to seriously examine the structure and number of … Continue reading

Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

[Speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Education (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014] I thank the Minister for his contributions to the education portfolio. I would like to state that one of the joys of my brief career here to date has been the opportunity to interact with the Minister. He has done, and … Continue reading

Higher Education and Research (Consolidation and Improvement) Bill

Eamonn Farrell - Photocall Ireland

[speaking in the Seanad during Second Stage of the Higher Education and Research (Consolidation and Improvement) Bill 2014] I am strongly supportive of Senator Barrett’s Bill. The presence of people like Senator Barrett in these Houses should be a lesson to us all. It says something about the way politics in general esteems expertise and … Continue reading

The need for thoughtfulness

dublin talks

We have a great need for thoughtfulness. Not the type of thoughtfulness that makes you remember your mother’s birthday. A more general form of thoughtfulness, a kind of thoughtfulness which we need to introduce into our public life, both in this country and internationally The kind of thoughtfulness which has the potential to prevent public … Continue reading

The truth about “The truth about avoiding cancer”


On Thursday the 16th of August 2012 the Irish Independent, in the “Health Advice” sub-section of the “Living” supplement printed a two-page spread under the banner headline “The truth about avoiding cancer”, with ‘truth’ highlighted in red. I was greatly disturbed by the outright lack of balance in this series of articles. Quotes from a … Continue reading

Junior Certificate Reform and the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy


I join with colleagues in welcoming the Minister to the House. There are many nice aspects to being in Seanad Éireann, but one of the nicer ones is that no one is ever in the press gallery and few are in the public Gallery. It is like having a private audience with the Minister. He … Continue reading

Speaking on the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill

Having worked on the fringe and, in recent years, directly in the academic medical and academic scientific sectors for the past 19 years, I have a certain perspective on this matter. It is that we have not supported the sector well and that any deficiencies that exist within the sector cry out for reform of … Continue reading

Call for debate with Minister for Education and Skills to discuss the strategy for higher education

Such a debate is necessary in light of this morning’s disappointing news that there has been a further attrition in the academic rankings of leading Irish universities. We reached a high water mark in this regard as recently as two years ago when two of our institutions were ranked in the world’s top 100, with … Continue reading

Special Needs Assistants

I would like to bring to the attention of the Members a very sad article written under the pseudonym of Annie Shipsey in the Village magazine about the problem with regard to special needs assistants. The article was entitled Thank you Mr. Timothy Geithner and I recommend that everybody in the Oireachtas read it. As … Continue reading