The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), has come in for criticism for the publicity and implicit endorsement it has given to a Fine Gael party political meeting.
The event in question, a meeting on Brexit hosted by Fine Gael Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, will be chaired by NUIG President Dr. James J. Browne, addressed by Director of NUIG’s ‘Whitaker Institute’ Dr. Alan Ahearne, and was publicised through official NUI, Galway channels.
Workers’ Party Councillor Éilis Ryan said the event amounted to NUIG giving a “platform for austerity” to a Fine Gael Minister.
Reacting to the event, Cllr. Ryan said:
“Of course we will hear that the universities’ staff and president are simply carrying out their professional duty by addressing such a partisan – and pro-austerity – event. In reality, however, the event reveals the common austerity agenda which is driving our current government, and much of our universities’ management bureaucracies.”
Ryan argued that the event is taking place at a time in which defending the public ethos of the university is more vital than ever, saying:
“Each year we see public funding for universities reduce, and private funding – and with it private, often corporate, influence – increase. In such a context, it is vital that we remain vigilant to the very real risk that our universities might become mouthpieces for a corporate agenda.
“By granting its clear endorsement to an event controlled by our austerity-friendly governing party, Fine Gael, NUI, Galway has allowed itself to become exactly that.”, said Cllr. Ryan.