Transfer of University College, Dublin: Motion.

Tuesday, 10 January 1961

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 53 No. 10

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Mr. P. Crowley: Information on Patrick Crowley  Zoom on Patrick Crowley  I move:

That Seanad Éireann disapproves of the proposal to transfer University College, Dublin, from its existing site at Earlsfort Terrace, and is of opinion that the substantial cost involved in any such proposal would [922] be more usefully expended in (a) expansion and improvement of the existing University buildings and facilities at Earlsfort Terrace, (b) expansion and improvement of the existing University buildings and facilities at Cork and Galway, and (c) the provision of new constituent Colleges at other provincial centres of population throughout the country.

I should like to begin by pointing out that this motion has been on the Order Paper of the House for over 12 months. Actually, it was put down by me on 11th November, 1959. What I have to say tonight with regard to the motion must, of necessity, take into account the fact that since it was put down, the Government have actually sanctioned, in a very offhand way, I think, on a £10 estimate, the projection of new university buildings at the Belfield site, thereby giving at least tacit approval to the project against which the motion proposes to raise and state the objections and opinions of this House.

That decision was taken by the Government, apparently after due deliberation and in full cognisance of the fact that the motion as well as their deliberate decision still awaited debate and a ruling in Seanad Éireann. To say the least of it, that decision and action on the part of the Government appear to me, at any rate, to indicate a certain indifference, a disregard for the opinions and views of this House. I shall be anxious to hear the Minister, in what he has to say, explain precisely why it was necessary for the Government to go ahead and give official sanction and approval to this widely controversial project at Belfield, while the subject matter of this motion awaited debate and decision by this House.

I am not accusing the Government of having acted with any undue haste in deciding to give sanction for the Belfield project; goodness knows, this problem of the University accommodation has been neglected already for too long. In view of the fact, however, that this motion has also been on the Order Paper of the Seanad for so long, [923] and in view of the controversy which the proposals for Belfield have aroused in so many sections and cross-sections of our people, it would not have been too much to ask or to expect that the Government should have come to the House and asked us to make up our minds on this question by disposing of this motion—one way or the other— before committing themselves and both Houses of the Oireachtas to sanctioning finally the Belfield project.

Much more could be said about that action, and decision, on the Government's part but I do not wish to make a bad position worse or to drag into further controversy the simple purpose for which I put down this motion in the first instance. I do, however, want to hear the Minister on that aspect of the problem and I hope he will be candid and frank in explaining to the House why, after so many years of discussion and delay, it was necessary for the Government to go ahead with this project, while this House was awaiting an opportunity of debating it.

I am concerned also to note that the Government's decision is selective, inasmuch as the Government have not given their approval or sanction to the implementation of all the recommendations made by the Commission which sat on this question. They have sanctioned, apparently, only the implementation of that part of these recommendations—to go ahead with the Belfield plan. They have not sanctioned or given any indication of their readiness to implement the recommendations of the Commission, either for Cork or Galway constituent Colleges, as far as I am aware. I am anxious therefore to hear the Minister on these aspects of the matter also.

In moving this motion, I wish at the outset to emphasise that I have been prompted to do so by considerations which are solely and most definitely personal to myself and to no other interest or interests. I have not been asked or encouraged to do so by any party, or group, or on behalf of any person or persons, some of whom may, for all I know, indeed be as interested as I am in a discussion [924] of this problem. I wish to begin, therefore, by stressing, as emphatically as I can, that any views I have to express on the subject are my own— mine alone—and they are not prompted by—even if they happen to reflect—the views of any other party or parties who may well share my personal concern for, and my interest in, the same problem.

I was prompted to put this motion down solely by my personal interest in directing public attention to the necessity for promoting a well-considered policy of decentralisation in this country. By decentralisation, I mean a wider dispersal of industry, of administrative control, of our educational facilities, and of all other amenities which would help to secure a wider dispersal of our population, and thereby, contribute in a very practical way towards arresting the wider and more serious problems of emigration and the constant drift of people from the land. Some five or six years ago I put down a motion on this subject for debate in this House, in the course of which I endeavoured to direct public attention to the implications of the then proposals to transfer U.C.D. from Earlsfort Terrace to an entirely new site some three or four miles south of Dublin at an estimated initial cost of some £6,000,000. The ultimate cost of the project must eventually run to many multiples of that figure.

If that is anything like an accurate estimate—and, indeed, I have heard many people who were in a position to express an opinion on it say it would not be anything like the ultimate cost—I am of opinion that expenditure of that order would be better directed at the present time to an effort to provide university education for a wider section of our young people nearer their homes throughout the provinces rather than to aggravate the existing problem of overcrowding in Dublin by the construction of a new university town on the outskirts of Dublin City.

I do not accept the contention that the decision to transfer U.C.D. to the Belfield site is the best proposition available to deal with the urgent problem of inadequate and unsuitable accommodation [925] at Earlsfort Terrace. I am well aware that the existing conditions at Earlsfort Terrace are bad, indeed deplorably bad. I am aware that they are so bad that they are a disgrace to a community which has a tradition of culture and education to live up to. I am aware that these conditions urgently call for a drastic and immediate overhaul and expansion of the buildings and facilities at present available at Earlsfort Terrace, and I am satisfied that the responsibility devolves on the Government to end the chaotic conditions of overcrowding and discomfort at Earlsfort Terrace immediately.

I am not satisfied, however, that the proposal to initiate a long-term scheme to establish a new university town on the outskirts of Dublin at an immediate cost of some £6,000,000—and an ultimate cost of unpredictable magnitude —is either the best method or the best approach to a solution of this urgent problem, taking all the circumstances and the many other problems facing our people into full account. Finally, on this aspect of the problem, I want to say that even if a strong case exists for building a new university, I personally am absolutely convinced that Dublin is not the place to build it.

One of the most serious problems confronting our people and our country as a whole for many years past is the drift of population from the provinces and rural areas to Dublin and places further away. I am convinced that the provision of better facilities at each of the constituent colleges at Dublin, Cork, and Galway would help at least to arrest the trend of so many students who are attracted to Dublin at the moment, even from the areas which can or could be better served by the existing facilities at Cork and Galway. I am told that the original foundations, walls, etc., of the buildings at Earlsfort Terrace, erected only 50 years ago, were specially designed to facilitate and permit considerable expansion upwards, at least, if not in other directions. I can see no valid reason why that possibility should not even now be further examined in seeking an immediate solution to the overcrowding which [926] we all know is a feature of life at the university there at the moment.

Anyone who has ever visited the university buildings at Cork or Galway will not disagree with me when I say that ample facilities appear to exist at both of these fine colleges for substantial improvement and expansion. Why not utilise the facilities which already exist, therefore, at all three colleges to ease the pressing demand for more accommodation at Earlsfort Terrace? I am convinced that, apart even from the very important consideration of lesser cost, an extension of the facilities already available, by renovation, reconstruction, and reequipment of the existing buildings, and, if necessary, the erection of new buildings on the available sites, would be an approach to this problem which would be welcomed by a majority of our people, while it would also provide a badly-needed revitalising tonic to the social and economic health—if that is the correct term—of two of our major provincial centres of population. I need not elaborate on the numerous benefits which would flow from having better educational facilities made readily available, at a fraction of the cost involved both to the State and to the parents concerned, to a much wider section of our children.

In the same context, we cannot ignore the strong current claim which has been made for the provision of a constituent college at Limerick. Indeed, I feel, having read and listened to some of the arguments which have been advanced in support of this proposal, that an unanswerable case has been made, at least, against the proposal to launch the Belfield Plan until such time as the legitimate demands of the people of Limerick have been fully and very carefully considered. I admire and congratulate the people of Limerick on their forthright initiative and on their determination to demand the consideration to which they are entitled in that respect. As far as it lies within my power to do so, I shall support their demand, at least, to that extent.

I deliberately refrained from quoting from the voluminous statistics which [927] can be produced in support of this motion, because I believe that the question it poses now is one which can best be answered by the logic of common sense. Nobody has to be convinced that the city and surburbs of Dublin are already over-populated, while the rest of the country is being slowly, but surely, drained of its population—particularly, the young men and women who should be building a balanced economy on the land or from the produce of the land at its source. Surely, then, we should be slow to encourage—in my view we should be loud in our condemnation of—any proposal which would even tend to attract still more people away from their homes in the country to the bright lights of Dublin, like moths to an all-consuming flame. I welcome the recent pronouncement of the Minister for Lands that he intends to take effective steps in the near future to have this unhealthy trend reversed as far as his Department is concerned. I hope that this House will, by its support of this motion, fully endorse a wider application of the same policy on the part of the Government as a whole.

I cannot conclude this statement without paying what I consider to be due tribute to the excellent case made by the young group, known as Tuairim, against this proposal to move U.C.D. from Earlsfort Terrace. I cannot do better than to refer those who need to be convinced to the conclusive proof, which has been published by this body, of the utter absence of any real necessity to transfer the University from Earlsfort Terrace. I congratulate and compliment the young members of Tuairim on their production. By their painstaking care and great labour in extracting all the relevant facts and figures, without any expectation of personal gain or favour, they have made an invaluable contribution to a clear and factual presentation of all the factors involved in this important question to the Irish people.

Despite what I have already said, it may be still thought by some people that I have a personal axe to grind in moving this motion. I want to say, [928] in conclusion, that in doing so I am probably speaking, if not actually working, against my own personal interest in this matter. One of my children is at the moment attending lectures at Earlsfort Terrace and I am only too painfully aware personally of the handicaps under which he and all the students there have to work. Two of my younger children will, I hope, be ready and eligible to complete their studies at the University within the next few years. It happens that I reside, with my family, within a mile of the proposed site for the University at Belfield, so that, from a selfish personal point of view, nothing would suit my interests better than to see a new University built at Belfield almost at my doorstep as soon as possible.

I do not think I am here to legislate for what suits me. My function is to legislate for what is best and most conducive to the interests of our people as a whole. I hope that every member of the House will likewise speak to this motion without prejudice or without regard to any personal interest which some of them may have in the proposal contained in the motion. I hope that all members of the House will contribute their individual views to a vigorous and effective debate on the motion. I hope that such a debate will be both helpful and useful to the Government and the people of the country as a whole. Even though we must regard the purpose of this motion as being negatived by the Government's decision to proceed with the project, I feel that every member of this House should express a view or considered opinion in this very important matter. I commend the motion to the support of the House.

Mr. Barry: Information on Anthony Barry  Zoom on Anthony Barry  I second the motion although I have an uneasy feeling that the motion comes too late and that this is a classical case of locking the stable door too late. I understand that the horse is now about to graze peacefully at Belfield but I do support the motion in protest against the manner in which this has been done. I think there is something wrong if a £10 Vote can enable a major development [929] of this kind to be undertaken. I do not want to hinder any necessary growth in any branch of the National University, but I want to rationalise it. I want this Parliament to rationalise the spread of university education. I think this motion provides us with the only opportunity of discussing this project. I am not even going to stress the claims of Cork or Galway, or indeed of Limerick, but a steady look at the whole picture should be taken and taken before we put this enormous egg into one basket. If the case is made after such detailed examination, by all means let Belfield go ahead, but some questions must be asked beforehand. First, what will it cost? I can get no figures from any source whatever. How many more students will it accommodate? I cannot get figures. Are the Universities in Cork and Galway fully used at the moment? Are they capable of taking more students? Would it be possible to divert students from the provinces in which these Universities are until they are fully exhausted? Will this project at Belfield injure the progress and development of either Galway or Cork?

Now I am going to say something which probably will cause many eyebrows to be raised. Has anybody thought of a merger with Trinity College in a matter of this kind? After all, it is desirable that our University pattern should reflect a hopeful future rather than a squabbling and divided past. Surely, after 40 years, we should start thinking along new lines. The Commission which the Minister has set up should have all these questions as the first item on its agenda and nothing should be done until these four questions are examined: what will this cost; what additional accommodation will it give; will it injure the other two Universities in any way; and has any consideration been given to rationalising two fine Universities in this city and making them dovetail for the benefit of the community? The Minister will make educational as well as historical progress if the matter is looked at steadily and calmly by his advisers, the Commission and by himself. By giving it sufficient thought now and forgetting the past, we can put an end [930] to segregation, to duplication and overlapping.

I want to say one word about Tuairim. Even if we disagree with the findings of Tuairim, we must applaud the public spirit and industry they displayed. They have given us a fine example of intelligent citizenship by all that they have done in this important matter.

I shall finish with one other point which I think is important. I want to talk about architecture. If a large sum of money is to be spent on this or any other project, we should remember we are building for posterity and should insist on an architectural competition so that such buildings will endure gracefully as well as usefully. I beg the Minister to impose his will on the University in this regard. I congratulate Senator Crowley for the case he has made for the complete examination which, I hope, the project will get in this House.

Seán Ó Donnabháin: Information on Sean ODonovan  Zoom on Sean ODonovan  Futile though it may be for the Seanad to discuss this motion, and even though we must consider the question of the siting as a fait accompli, I think that, in view of the fact that a Commission is sitting, the Minister should have it brought to his notice by this Assembly that there is not the same unanimity as was displayed in the Dáil in regard to the transfer of University College from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield. It cannot be said here or anywhere else that there is anything political in what has happened. It amazed me that in the Dáil we had Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour combining enthusiastically for the transfer of University College, Dublin, to Belfield. That does not mean, I presume, that every member of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and every member of the Labour Party approved of it in their hearts. I said unhesitatingly from the start that as a member of Fianna Fáil, I disapproved of it. I suppose I could be classified as a Fianna Fáil member of this House. I am trying to emphasise as strongly as I can to the Minister for Education that the transfer of the University from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield is nationally wrong.

This is not like an ordinary Bill going through the Oireachtas. I shall [931] just mention the Intoxicating Liquor Act which may be changed in two years' time or ten years' time. I repeat with other Senators that this tremendous decision has been taken on a £10 Supplementary Estimate in the Dáil and, to my mind, taken with rather indecent haste. The results of that will last for 1,000 years, if this country lasts for 1,000 years and if an atomic war does not destroy us. The results must last and be evident to the Irish nation for the next 1,000 years or 1,500 years. For that reason, this is far more important legislation than some of the legislation we have discussed.

The Seanad has had no chance of discussing the situation up to tonight and even at this belated hour, when it may be too late, I still think it opportune that we should advise the Minister that we regard this as a wrong step.

It would take a long time to review the history from the time the idea of transferring University College, Dublin, to Belfield was first mooted. I could not do it and I do not want to delay the House in endeavouring to do it, but I should like to refer to a change in circumstances that occurred between the time the original Commission, over which An Breitheamh Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh presided, reported and the time the matter was considered by the Dáil. Harcourt Street station became vacant. The closing of Harcourt Street station is one of the things for which some people may criticise C.I.E., but the fact remains that about five acres represented by Harcourt Street station, the viaduct and portion of the railway ground on the far side of Adelaide Road became vacant. It meant that there was virgin soil on which all sorts of services were available which cannot be quickly provided on a new site such as Belfield. That position should have been considered with a view to extending University College, Dublin, on its existing site.

The original Commission also accepted the position that compulsory powers could not be used. It is amazing to me, as a citizen and as a Senator, that compulsory powers can be used for the purposes of building a vocational school or other building [932] through a local authority and that compulsory powers cannot be availed of through the Government for the provision of education at university level. I find it amazing that it was not possible to use compulsory powers, providing for arbitration, to secure extra siting in the present position of University College, Dublin.

Since this matter was first discussed, new buildings have been erected on the site, but, allowing for the obstructions, if they may be so called, on the site, I visualise that before a college could be built at Belfield, facilities could be made available on the existing site. In my opinion, it will take 20 years and £20,000,000 to provide suitable accommodation at Belfield.

There are businesses in existence in the area surrounding University College, Dublin. The G.E.C. is one of the largest. It is sited in an area from Adelaide Road to Hatch Street and abuts the site which I and others and the Tuairim report visualise as a suitable site for the extension of University College, Dublin. My picture would be that you would have University College buildings from Stephen's Green to the canal. There is an immense vacant space in the Iveagh Grounds. These considerations have all been referred to both in the original report and in the Tuairim report.

There is Harcourt Street station and the viaduct; there is Peter's Place; there is a green there which is let to the Dental Board for the purpose of building a dental clinic. There are five tenement houses abutting the canal. The entire property is not so valuable as to make the compensation payable for disturbance anything like the cost of erecting new buildings at Belfield. I could picture that from the top of Grafton Street, you could see the turret of a central building in the Iveagh Garden site. The building need not necessarily be confined to five storeys —it could be much higher. What harm would it be if students had to climb six or seven flights of stairs? Lifts could be provided for the professors.

The original commission reported that it would be architecturally undesirable to have a university building [933] of more than three storeys. It is fantastic that in the case of such a building, it would not be possible to build up instead of out. Up we should go for this central building. Most of the Arts lectures that do not entail large equipment could be provided on the upper floors. Lectures which would involve the use of machinery could be given on the lower floors and in other buildings.

I am obsessed with the idea that the transfer of University College, Dublin, is all wrong. A far better solution would be to transfer the Houses of the Oireachtas to Belfield and to erect a building there that would be suitable for both Houses and provide the necessary offices for Ministers and civil servants. That would be preferable to transferring University College from the centre of the city out to a suburb.

The number of students attending University College, Dublin, is approximately 5,000. Two thousand of that number would be from Dublin City. Who are the people who deserve more consideration than the parents and the students? The majority of the students whose parents reside in Dublin, from Howth to Drumcondra, Finglas to Chapelizod, Crumlin to Rathfarnham, will be victimised by this transfer to the extent of a minimum of £1 a week. The only students for whom Belfield will be convenient are residing in Ballsbridge, Stillorgan, Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire. Apart from the physical and mental difficulties involved, parents will be at a loss of at least £1 a week and that calculated over 30 weeks of the year in respect of 2,000 students will be £60,000.

I cannot picture any group of students who will be convenienced by going to Belfield. The medical students certainly will not be convenienced because they have to attend hospitals and clinics in the centre of the city. Very few hospitals are situated in the suburbs up to the present. The only new hospital likely to be there is the proposed St. Vincent's Hospital, but goodness knows where our University will be when those plans materialise. Engineering and architectural students will be inconvenienced, [934] as also will many clerical students. I have, over the years, seen these students leaving Clonliffe College and walking in procession to Earlsfort Terrace, a lovely walk for them in the morning. That is only a distance of three miles, but when the site of the University is changed, there will be this extra distance to travel.

Every Faculty—I have discussed this matter with many people and they agree with me—will be inconvenienced. The Faculty of Agriculture in which I am particularly interested will be up in a heap altogether, because Albert College, Glasnevin, which up to recently was being run as a State farm, is surrounded by buildings and will be taken over some day. Where will the Faculty of Agriculture obtain a suitable farm for the students? They will have to go further out into north County Dublin because I do not think they can possibly get one between Belfield and the foothills of the Dublin mountains. This naturally will involve extra miles being travelled from the classrooms at Belfield to the University farm.

I have driven around the present University buildings. The houses around Stephen's Green are very old. There are some buildings in good condition; there is Newman House and the building where the Department of External Affairs is housed. From there to the corner of Stephen's Green the houses are comparatively old. In Upper Earlsfort Terrace, where the National Farmers' Association headquarters are, there are also a few good houses. However, there is a tremendous area of practically virgin soil with a few very old houses on it.

The Oireachtas should have seen that compulsory powers were made available to University College, Dublin, to enable them to acquire suitable facilities for the purpose of providing a college in the centre of Dublin which would be convenient for students and professors, and suitable for symposiums, seminars or other international meetings, rather than compel them to go out to Belfield which would be comparable with American campus where a car is necessary in order to get to the different buildings.

[935] I still believe the Oireachtas should mend their hand. This situation must be considered to some extent in connection with the Commission which has been set up for the purpose of reviewing higher education. We are spending millions of pounds on the improvement of vocational teaching in the city. There are the institutions at Bolton Street and Kevin Street which are providing for higher education comparable with, or according to some people, preferable to, University education. These educational facilities must be correlated with university education, be it in Dublin, Cork, Galway or anywhere else. That correlation will involve a smaller demand for space than the demand which undoubtedly exists at present. There would be a demand for space whether the University buildings were to be extended at Earlsfort Terrace or a new building erected at Belfield, but it would be far cheaper and far more satisfactory to the Irish people and especially to the people of Dublin, to have U.C.D. situated as it is and improvements made there than to transfer the University, lock, stock and barrel, to a new site where there are no services, where sewerage facilities, water and electricity supplies must be made available as a preliminary. These facilities are already available at Earlsfort Terrace.

I understand that the Corporation agreed to close Hatch Street. If Hatch Street were closed, along with the contiguity which is there at present, there would be absolute continuity from Newman House, across to Iveagh Gardens, to Harcourt Street station and out to the canal. That acreage, with suitable upward building, would certainly, to my mind, suit the project better—and suit Dublin citizens better —than transferring to the new site.

I have some further notes but I do not want to add to what I have said, beyond stating the fact that from day to day there are increasing demands for higher education. Recently it was stated that the nurses' organisation are seeking university status for their training and if they get university facilities for a diploma or a degree, [936] how are they to get out to Belfield? A building such as we have in the centre of the city would be convenient for all students in the city. If there are to be night classes for degrees, Earlsfort Terrace and Newman House would have to be retained. There would be no handing over of any buildings because at present the accommodation there is not sufficient for classes doing night courses. I cannot see how Newman House could be handed over to a public authority or how Earlsfort Terrace could be handed back to the State because they will still be required.

Apart from that, if these night classes were to be conducted in the new buildings in Belfield, it would mean an extra impost on people who have to work by day and seek education by night. While this argument may be futile now, I wish to put my view very emphatically to the Minister. I think it would certainly be a retrograde step if the National University in Dublin which is University College, Dublin, were to be sited in the suburbs, causing great inconvenience to students, parents and people resident in Dublin.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  The suggestion that the Seanad got no chance of discussing a motion such as this until to-night following the questions posed to the Minister by Senator Crowley at the opening of his remarks, prompts me to intervene for the purpose of keeping the record straight. I got the impression from Senator Crowley that there was some sort of attempt made to stave off discussion on this motion. I should like to assure the House that this motion could have been, and would have been, discussed some time ago, were it not for the fact that the time chosen was not convenient for the proposer. It was not that there was any attempt on our part to stave off the discussion; instead, we should have been glad to have a discussion, but when the times selected were not convenient for the purpose, Government business interfered subsequently and it is not to be taken in any way that there was any attempt to evade a discussion. We would have been glad to [937] have had such a discussion at any time.

Mrs. Dowdall: Information on Jane Dowdall  Zoom on Jane Dowdall  It appears from the speech of the proposer of the motion and the discussion since that there is very good reason for further inquiries into this matter. If there is such an inquiry, we may claim credit for having obtained the first first-class miracle that ever happened due to our efforts. It would be a good thing if we had further inquiries and if we in this House were responsible for having these inquiries made.

Nobody disagrees with the need for expansion of U.C.D.—that is accepted and has been for many years—but I am much impressed by the geographical details given by Senator O'Donovan. I know Dublin very well and I know that area, but he has gone to a great deal of trouble to draw attention to what is, or should have been, available for the extension of U.C.D. It has been said that there was great unanimity in the Dáil about this. That is true, but might I be facetious and say that it was perhaps due to the presence of a very great number of professors who had great power in all Parties.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I think there are more of them here.

Mrs. Dowdall: Information on Jane Dowdall  Zoom on Jane Dowdall  Not at this moment. They were here at other times but I should like to see university professors here today discussing the University, just for a change. I say that with no disrespect to university professors but I feel that they exercise a great deal of power in the other House. The need for diffusion of educational establishments throughout the State, even though we are so small, must be apparent. A great concentration in one place seems to be an elementary fault in our development. As Senator Barry has said, we are not making any claim for Cork and I have no right to make a claim for Galway, but we all know that University College, Cork needs extra financial help. Perhaps we ordinary citizens who are not mixed up with university affairs might think the university authorities in Dublin had ideas of grandeur beyond the competence of the economy of the country to comply [938] with. I should not like to think that, but this seems to be a very grandiose scheme to embark on, while other constituent colleges need financial help in many ways which they are not getting.

In the matter of extension, while it is advisable always to try to acquire and build the best possible buildings, buildings of which we can at all times be proud, there is a great danger of getting a very expansive metropolitan approach and I should like further inquiries to be made into the possibility of extending on the present site. Senator Barry talked about the possible amalgamation of two Universities. I know that he is aware that there was a minority report in the report on accommodation for the Universities but like many other things, it was buried and we did not hear very much about it.

A very important point about a university in the suburbs is the elementary one of transport. The transport problem seems to be growing all the time. I cannot see, as other Senators have said, how a student from, say, Drumcondra or the Phoenix Park area is to get to Belfield. I suppose they may cycle but in inclement weather, what is to happen about the extra transport facilities they will need? In fact, the whole project, it seems, will disorganise the city and create unnecessary problems. I have seen the plans or some pictures of the proposed buildings at Belfield and the buildings appear to be very far apart. From the little experience we had of a hospital in Cork recently, we find that the nurses, who are not supplied with transport, have to provide their own bicycles to cycle from one point to another, often in inclement weather. That is not a good thing. This is a question of planning and the spacing may be the modern idea but I think it is very silly. There is also the very important point of added expense for parents. I should hope, with most other people, that in the near future many more of our young people will be getting university education. Is it the intention of the Government, who supply the money, or the university authorities, who supply the rest, that all these young people, or the great majority of them, will be concentrated in Dublin? I do not think such concentration [939] would be a good idea. When some of our young people win scholarships, they are very often unable to avail of higher education because the value of the scholarships is so low. While not having any very violent views against Belfield qua Belfield, I believe this issue calls for further inquiry and I sincerely hope the Minister will give us some hope in that regard.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  Tá an-chuid cainte agus an-chuid díospóireachta cloiste againn mar gheall ar an gceist seo agus ceist an-thábhachtach 'sea í gan dabht. Tá cur amach ag ár muintir ar chúrsaí oideachais le mórán blianta anuas agus éileamh acu air agus tá ár n-ainm in áirde 'sa tslí sin agus 'sé ár ndualgas an ainm sin do choimeád in áirde. Dá bhrí sin, caithfimíd féachaint chuige ná déanfaidh aon rud a dhéanfaimíd anois aon chur isteach ar árd-léinn sa tír seo. Tá orainn léann de gach saghas a chur ar fáil dár muintir. Tá sé tuilte acu, agus má bhíonn ar ár ndaoine imeacht thar sáile fé mar atá i ndán do chuid acu gan amhras, is maith an rud é go mbeidh an t-oideachas is fearr is féidir linn a thabhairt dóibh d'réir ár ngustail acu ag imeacht thar sáile dóibh. Mar gheall air sin, táim i bhfábhar coláiste oiriunach iolscoile a bheith anso againn i mBaile Átha Cliath.

I consider this a very important motion and one which we should approach very objectively because it deals with the very important question of higher education here. There have been many discussions as to the proposed site of the new University. Many letters have appeared in the public Press. We, as legislators and members of a deliberative assembly, should ensure that the propaganda indulged in elsewhere will not affect our views or interfere with our judgment in this matter. As I see it, we are legislating for the higher education of our people a thousand years ahead. That being so, we should not let any petty financial considerations interfere with our judgment.

It has been said that the proposal to [940] transfer University College, Dublin, from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield is a step in the wrong direction. That view is held by some people. It has been given expression to here tonight, even by members on my own side of the House. I am not in agreement with that view at all. I have had some personal experience of the Earlsfort Terrace site and the atmosphere there. I have always believed Earlsfort Terrace was never suitable as a university centre, It is quite true to say that it is central, that it is easily accessible. It is also true that the transfer to Belfield will impose additional expense on those attending the University. In my view, that is a very minor consideration. What is most important is to have a site which will be in keeping with the ideals and aspirations of our country and in which the students will be able to develop a proper perspective on life in ideal conditions. That is far more important than any little extra expense which may be involved in the transfer of our University from its central situation in the metropolitan area to Belfield in the suburbs.

It is of the utmost importance that those receiving education, be it primary, secondary, vocational, or university, should be housed in proper conditions and in a suitable atmosphere. It is vitally important that they should be kept close to nature, to fresh air and open skies.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Hear, hear.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  That is far more important than the centralisation of the University in Earlsfort Terrace rather than two or three miles away from it. Speakers have adverted to the extra expense in which the students will be involved. It should be remembered that we are legislating for students from all parts of the country. Is it not most important that those students from all parts of the country should be educated in the right atmosphere away from the hurry and bustle of metropolitan life? I always considered that Earlsfort Terrace was an unsuitable place and that the atmosphere was not conducive to the very best results in higher education.

[941] I am glad we have an opportunity of discussing the matter here tonight. I have not consulted anybody about it. Everybody is entitled to his opinion. This is a question that should be divorced entirely from any political considerations. It is so important a matter for the coming generations that no political or other considerations should come between us and our better judgment as to where University College should be situated. Complaint has been made in letters in the Press, and also in conversations I have had with some people, that the amount of money involved is very great. It is a considerable sum, no doubt, but at the same time we must take the long view. If we are to make sure that the facilities for higher education here will be on a par with those of other countries, we should not be deflected from our purpose by the consideration of £1 million or £2 million.

I know very well that, as far as we are concerned, financial considerations are very important. It is our duty to make sure that any money we spend on education, whether at the primary, secondary or university level, will be money for which the people will get a return. But in this case I firmly believe, having regard to the need for the expansion of our University education and the requirements of this and the coming generations, that a question of a few millions should not deter us from making the proper provision here.

Is there any realism about the argument that the proposed transfer will impose inconvenience on the people of Dublin? Take the Faculty of Agricultural Science. Glasnevin College is four miles from here. I regard the Agricultural Faculty as one of the most important, if not the most important, in this country. It is our duty for the future welfare of the country to encourage as many young people as possible to become students of Agricultural Science. Yet this Faculty has its site at Glasnevin and, as far as I know, there have been no complaints about that.

The future site of University College, Dublin, is very important, but of [942] the utmost importance also is the system of education that should be pursued in this College. Of course, we are precluded from pursuing that now. All I can say is that I am very glad a Commission has been set up by the Minister to inquire into all this question.

We have a tradition here second to none as regards education. It is a tradition that has been recognised all over the world and therefore it should be very dear to us. It is our duty to uphold that tradition and make sure that anything we do at present will not interfere with or mar it. That is one of the things we can fall back on. Unfortunately, we know that in this country at present, and I suppose in the foreseeable future, we shall not be able to provide employment for the products of our universities here, but maybe a time will come when that will be the case. In any event, is it not a good thing to be able to send people away from this country to other countries with the very best university education in all these Faculties? Our people have rendered a good account of themselves in foreign countries and have shown an example of what higher education at its best can be. We should bear in mind the tradition we have had for higher education and the achievements of our people abroad because of the higher education they received here. We should bear all these things in mind in considering this question of the future site of University College, Dublin.

Let us hear no more about the hardship and inconvenience that would be imposed on the students going from one part of Dublin to another. To my mind, that is a very unrealistic approach to the matter. This is a nationwide problem and we should treat is as such. Of course, it will take a few years before this new site is developed and the new college established. I am sure, however, when that time comes that the people of the country will be thankful to the authorities here for having made the decision to transfer University College from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield.

Senator Mrs. Dowdall did not appear to agree entirely with the proposal [943] to have the College transferred. She too made some reference to the hardship that would be imposed on students going out from the centre of Dublin to this place. I should like to remind Senator Mrs. Dowdall and Senator Barry—I was not here when he made his contribution but they are both from Cork—that University College, Cork, is far removed from the centre of Cork city.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Cork men move fast—that is the answer.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  It is situated in ideal surroundings, and I can tell the Seanad that University College, Cork, has turned out the best educational products in this country.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  In a way, I speak with reluctance on this subject, altogether. I have felt many times that I should have spoken on it years ago. I should like to congratulate the last speaker on his contribution to the debate, but, of course, there are other people I have to congratulate more heartily. First of all, I should like to congratulate the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Education on the large contribution they made to the current expenses of the Universities of this country. Every University College has benefited by the decision they took at the beginning of last year.

Frankly, I do not understand how this subject has remained as a subject of debate for so many years. It reminds one of the historical demand of the Irish people for higher education, a subject which was debated for 80 years, I suggest, and which was eventually satisfied, in the main, by the establishment of University College, Dublin. Perhaps history has a habit of repeating itself in this matter but certainly this debate which has lasted for a number of years is a most astonishing business.

Before I go on to deal with some of the arguments which were made to-night, could I just recapitulate four items, and I shall add a fifth afterwards? The Government decided in 1950 that a new university college [944] would be built at Belfield. They went out of office without making that decision public; other matters supervened and the decision was not implemented.

The Governing Body of University College, Dublin, decided unanimously in 1951 that they would build a new university college at Belfield. The Commission of Inquiry, who admitted honestly in their report that they started with a disposition in favour of building in the present area around Earlsfort Terrace, unanimously reported in favour of building at Belfield. Last year, the Government publicly decided to build at Belfield and got the support of the appropriate authority, Dáil Éireann. Again, the primary credit must go to the Minister for Education and the Minister for Finance. They got the support of every Party in Dáil Éireann.

When I mention those four items, I really do not know what we are discussing here to-night. That does not say that I have no sympathy for one part of Senator Crowley's motion. Having regard to the fact that there are to be five universities in Scotland very shortly there is one part of the motion which suggests the provision of new constituent colleges at other provincial centres of population throughout the country, on which I would not be prepared to deliver any adverse words. It may be that the existing colleges are adequate, but the fact is that there will be five universities in Scotland. Most extraordinary of all is the fact that, in recent times, the University of St. Andrews in Aberdeen—which used to be the forgotten chicken of the Scottish universities, just as another was in this country — has now, I understand, thousands of students—I think 7,500 students—a most astounding change for a university which in the Twenties, was regarded as practically down and out.

In those circumstances, I cannot understand why there should be so much backstairs, underground work in relation to this proposal. I do not go around looking for information on a matter of this sort; one gathers that information extremely slowly through the years; but I am now of the opinion [945] that the opposition originally came from a small group inside University College who succeeded in persuading the general public that there was a serious difference of opinion in that institution. That is my considered opinion long after the event. There was no such difference of opinion. If we take the people who count in any institution of learning, the people who give their whole time to it, the whole-time professors and lecturers, I would say that in an institution where there are at least a couple of hundred whole-time professors and lecturers, there would not be more than—let me put it at the outside—ten against the move to Belfield.

I believe there was considerable opposition from the part-time people and, as they mix around amongst the community, they spread that view in the community. That is what I think. I think those part-time people were concerned about the extra length of time it would take them to go out to the site outside the city. It was quite easy for them to drop over to University College without loss of time from offices, buildings, and so on, in the middle of the city. They were concerned that it would take them perhaps 20 minutes to go to the site in Belfield.

I am as open to conviction as anyone, but I have seen no evidence except the evidence I see from an occasional letter or from the known views of perhaps a few people, of opposition inside University College, Dublin to the transfer to Belfield.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  One had to be very careful.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  That is entirely wrong. I can really say in all honesty that there is no question about that, in my opinion. The Senator may say that someone who had a temporary appointment should be careful. I am speaking about people, all of whom had permanent appointments. Any one of them could have spoken his mind and would not have suffered in the slightest.

I am not aware of any person on the staff of University College, Dublin, being victimised for expressing views contrary to those held by the authorities there. Inside the institution, I [946] have on occasion spoken out very strongly in relation to the authorities. It may have happened. I only know what I know. I am not aware of any person being victimised in University College, Dublin, for expressing views either inside or outside the institution against the authorities of the College.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  I am aware of one very eminent professor who was afraid to speak——

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  As a person who has never been afraid to express his views and who is prepared to fight in many territories I have not a great deal of respect for people who are afraid to express their views.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  I agree.

Seán Ó Donnabháin: Information on Sean ODonovan  Zoom on Sean ODonovan  This is not a point of view but I should like if the internal arrangements in University College, Dublin, were not discussed. So far, the discussion has been entirely outside it. The Dáil discussion was bedevilled by that.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  That is for the Chair to decide.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  I have finished with the matter. If an additional university college were to be established in the country, there is no question that University College, Dublin, would not be affected by it. The atmosphere in every important country to-day in relation to higher education is such that neither University College, Cork, nor University College, Galway, would be affected by it though, being smaller institutions, they might feel that the competition might impact on them more severely than on University College, Dublin.

University institutions are of very slow growth. That has been found in Britain. I notice once again in the last month or six weeks in Great Britain a tremendous discussion about how they are to provide the higher educational institutions they require in that country. Offhand, one might say: “You erect the buildings, recruit the staff and there you have it.” Apparently, it just does not happen that way.

[947] That has occurred in a country with enormous resources not alone in wealth and tradition but in personnel. The proof of that is the enormous output of books in Britain—a country which is at present, not alone in relation to its population but absolutely, producing more books than Germany, the United States or any country in the world. If they find difficulty in adding four or five university colleges to their existing institutions, despite the vast millions of money the Government are prepared to make available, I think people in this country who engage in the prolonged kind of campaign that has been engaged in on this matter ought to think again lest they do grave harm to an institution which is the largest institution in this country.

I believe the authorities in University College, Dublin, deserve the support and sympathy of every decent person in this country in the appalling delay which has accompanied their efforts to provide reasonable accommodation for the students. Students are to be pitied—I use the word deliberately—in having to put up with the present conditions. This year, the number of students in University College, Dublin, is about 5,500. Deducting the very few foreigners who are included in that number, there are about 5,000 Irish students—a number of Irish students equal to that of all the other Irish University institutions in the 32 counties put together—that is, all native Irish people.

I suggest that Senator Crowley should go any day to the main building of University College, Dublin, at either 11 a.m. or at 8.30 p.m. and see the conditions there. The conditions are deplorable. On the whole, Senator Seán Ó Donnabháin's speech, which was closer to the hub of the main subject of debate at present, was concerned with the suggestion that the present site could have been developed. He mentioned a site that, for example, was available for purchase—the site of the Railway Station at Harcourt Street. What was the total area of [948] that site? The area was three and a half acres.

Despite that, if, 25 years ago, the authorities of University College, Dublin, had bought Miss Sarah Purser's residence and grounds in Mespil Road and had started moving out to the canal we might have some chance of remaining in the site at Earlsfort Terrace. That day is long gone. As regards the total area of that site and the total area appropriate to a site for a modern university, I am prepared to accept the report of the commission.

I shall give two examples from my experience. I saw a television programme some two years ago featuring the new University of Mexico which is situated outside Mexico City. This site had 1,600 acres of land. It cost, I understand, some £10 million or £12 million to build. It has 40,000 students and 3,000 or 4,000 professors and lecturers. I myself saw an example many years ago, in 1930, when I was in the United States. A university was then being built outside the city of Pittsburg on rising ground on a site of 500 acres. It was a single skyscraper building in the middle of the site. The building was about 70 storeys high. I have recently been informed that the internal part of it has not yet been completed. It is a single Gothic skyscraper. It is a remarkable building. I understand that a wealthy industrial family, the Mellons, contributed a great deal of money. I want to point first and foremost to the size of the site on which it was built.

My only fear about the site at Belfield is that it will prove too small, in the long run. We do not get the kind of unanimity that I have instanced without good cause. That kind of unanimity on a problem does not happen. I want to congratulate the present Minister for Education on being the person in office when this matter was finally decided.

There is nothing unusual in our financial system in deciding a matter of this magnitude on a Vote for £10. We call it a token Estimate. The manner in which that was received in the Dáil by all Parties, the Govern- [949] ment Party, the main Opposition Party and the Labour Party, was excellent. I want to congratulate in particular the Leader of the Labour Party. A lesser man might save said: “This is a great deal of money to spend for something where there is no absolute evidence yet that children of the workers will benefit on a large scale” when the vote was being taken. I think there is more evidence now that the children of the workers will benefit by this expenditure. Again, on that matter, the Minister must be congratulated.

We are now at the end of this long road. It is only the completion of the building that is already under way which can do any good in relation to University College, Dublin, that is to say, to get a number of students, certainly 1,500 or perhaps 2,000 day students, out of the comparatively small building at Earlsfort Terrace. That should be the first objective in regard to the new buildings, so far as possible to transfer the first year students in the technology faculties to the new buildings at Belfield. I must say I am glad to have been able to contribute to the debate.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  I should like to start by saying that it is not quite fair to Senator Crowley to suggest that the lateness with which we are discussing this matter is in some part due to him. I am afraid we are all to blame, and the Seanad as a whole might have insisted on taking this motion at an earlier date. Having said that, I think we can disagree that, in the light of what has been said now, it can be claimed that the lateness of this discussion has taken away from the value of the debate. All that has been said here this evening was worth saying and putting on record. The various points of view have been given, and it is quite obvious that to make a sharp decision is by no means an easy task. It is a good thing that diverse opinions should be put moderately and lucidly, as they have been put.

I am proud of the fact that my father was the first lay Registrar of University College, Dublin, and, although I was not myself an undergraduate there, I feel that I have this [950] link with it. It is true that he lost his job due to his having the revolutionary idea that university education might be extended to women. In that I think we have an indication also that things have moved since his day. Senator Crowley in proposing this motion mentioned—and I feel sympathy with him—the offhand way— that was the phrase he used—in which the matter was decided upon. Senator O'Donovan has answered that to some extent by saying that a token Vote is a recognised way of doing this. I feel there is more to it than simply the token Vote. I feel that the Parliament was not first consulted. I feel that Parliament itself, long before the token Vote, was presented with a fait accompli and that the matter had been going on, as it were, piecemeal for a long time.

For instance, I find that a new Science block is in process of being erected, and I understand it was not put out to tender or advertised. It was not put up for competition. I have a feeling that that sort of thing should concern us. I understand the Minister will be asked for a considerable sum of money in relation to these first new buildings and I should like to ask him if he is satisfied that these new buildings which will cost £250,000, of which more than half will be found by the Government, will be planned so as to be integrated in the permanent buildings, or are they going up in piecemeal fashion to last for a certain time and then be taken down?

Having said that much about the way in which the project has been put forward and brought to its present position, I should like to say something about that position. I should like to refer to the official brochure put out by the authorities of University College Dublin, in relation to these transfer plans. I may confess that I opened this brochure rather more prejudiced against it than in favour of it. I may also confess that when I had read it I was convinced, apart from some criticism which I will mention en passant, that the case they make is a sound case and indeed an unanswerable case.

I am not terribly impressed by certain [951] aspects of the brochure. I am not very impressed by photographs of the backs of very neglected buildings in University College, Dublin, at the moment, because I feel they should never have been so neglected. I believe a lot more could have been done on the building site, and some of the overcrowding conditions could have been avoided by more attention to such things as these buildings which have been allowed to decay unncessarily. I notice on page 11 of this brochure that mention is made of the fact that:

We later, in view of ever-growing numbers, considered extending the buildings over the Iveagh Gardens.

There is a note to that which says that “in 1940 Lord Iveagh handed over his gardens to the State, intimating that they might be used by the College”. That was over 20 years ago. Apart from the fact that I think an adverb such as “generously” might have been used there, in relation to the “handing over” of the gardens, I think there is not sufficient information as to why in 20 years such use was not made of this possibility.

At the end of the same paragraph, it says:

The possibility that the College might be granted compulsory powers to buy ground adjacent to the Iveagh Gardens was investigated, and it was found that such powers could not be obtained. Much effort and planning thus ended in disappointment.

I am not impressed by this. I feel that at that juncture more could have been done on those lines, and it is hard to credit that such powers could not be obtained, if the Government had wanted to grant them.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  “Could not have been obtained if the Government wanted to grant them”. Is that what the Senator said? If the Government did not want to grant them, how could they be obtained?

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Senator [952] Hayes's suggestion is that it is all the fault of the Fianna Fáil Government of that day.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Oh, no. If any Government did not want to grant compulsory powers, how could they make them?

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  My answer to that would be along the lines of propaganda, by influencing public opinion, the sort of way in which the present situation has been made. I believe that if that had been done on those lines for those purposes the Government of that day would have been as generous as their successors have proved. I do not believe that every effort was made to persuade them at the time, or the best use made of those possibilities.

I notice on page 14 the following sentence:

When the students can spend their entire day at Belfield, their studies, sports, and social life all being centred there, they will enjoy, though they may not actually reside on the campus, most of the advantages of a residential university.

I feel that is capital and central and I think it shows why, fundamentally, the move is necessary. While on the Earlsfort Terrace site you might have sufficient buildings for classrooms and laboratories, you could not have sufficient buildings to erect a residential university and I feel that is what is required. Therefore that point is central.

There is another related point and I might as well mention it here, and that is, that although you might put up the buildings required on the site, you could not produce there the amenities of space, garden and fields, so very well referred to by Senator Ó Ciosáin as being essential to university surroundings. So, those two reasons are central and, I think, extremely cogent.

I should like to hope, of course, that in this residential university the residents, the students, will be treated as adults, and that the words “most of the advantages of a residential university” will not be taken to exclude [953] student freedom, student freedom to study and discuss, to argue and to express their opinions in an adult way.

As opposed to the case put by the University College authorities a pamphlet was published by Tuairim which has been referred to. I would associate myself with the tribute paid by other Senators to the motives inspiring those who drew up the document, and to the eminently clear way in which they have put it together and expressed their view.

Having said that, I should say that I disagree with their conclusions. One is very tempted by the projects they mention of the central educational area in Dublin which would include so many other buildings, and upon which they think you could build up a new University College, Dublin, and admittedly, there are great attractions about a central city site, but I believe that when they say in their report that the number of 5,000 students is a maximum for this college, that you must plan with that number in mind, they are making a mistake, and I think they give away their whole case; because it is quite obvious, as has been mentioned by other Senators here to-night, Senator Mrs. Dowdall first among them, that in this country, as in all other countries, you have to plan for a future university student population perhaps five times as big as the present university student population. Therefore, to think in terms now of keeping the university population in Dublin more or less at its present figure is to fail to see that growth is essential.

While admitting, as I have said before, that it might be possible on the site envisaged by Tuairim to put up the buildings required for the actual teaching, neither the residential university nor the essential grounds and fields and gardens would be possible. Therefore, I feel that, for all the trouble, care and moderation with which they express their view, their conclusion must be rejected.

There is no doubt in my mind that a great deal of imagination and foresight has been shown by the authorities of University College, Dublin, down the years since they first thought of this scheme at Belfield. It is a strange [954] thing to find how much hostility there is to the idea. There is almost a notion of jealousy, I feel, and, of course, personal matters enter into it, questions of personal prestige, and so on: but I think we can ignore those here and, looking at this scheme from a more detached view, looking at it long-term, we can recognise that the scheme contains within it the kernel of the only possible answer to the problem.

If we care to cast our minds, not five years forward, but 50 years forward, there is no question that if our University College is moved out within measurable time to such a site, the only thing they will be wondering is why they did not take a bit more ground, and they would be extremely glad—it does not really matter who gets the credit—that certain people had sufficient foresight and drive at the time to insist upon such a scheme. There is no question that in future university education will in every civilised country be made far more extensively available than it is to-day.

I should like to put this analogy: Supposing it were to be made possible for the various colleges of the University of London to gather themselves together on a 250 acre site within three and a half miles of the centre of the city of London, do you think they would hesitate a moment? If it were possible for them to do that now, is it not quite obvious that they would grasp eagerly at such an opportunity, and would have something which, in fact, has gone forever outside their grasp?

That is why I talk about imagination and foresight on the part of the authorities of University College, Dublin, not all of whose other actions, I may say, I by any means approve. Nevertheless, credit must be given on this particular point, and it is a big point.

Not merely the educational establishments in London, but business firms also are moving out, because they find that the conditions at the heart of a big city are becoming untenable, impossible. People talk about the ease of moving about in the centre of a city as if they had never tried doing it. You may well find that you [955] can get more rapidly from here to Belfield than you can get from here to the Agricultural Institute at Glasnevin. Crossing the city, going around the centre of the city, is becoming increasingly a difficult matter, and that is why in London, and I believe it will happen fairly soon in Dublin, businesses are happy to move out. You find businesses moving to a ring of towns outside London and doing all their business, not from the London office, but from the office in Ruislip, Aldershot, or wherever it may be.

Therefore, although some may say that Stillorgan is a long way, that is nonsense in fact. It is three and a half miles out. It is not a long way. It is entirely accessible. The only real objection that I see there is the question of the teaching hospitals; but the hospitals themselves will have to be moved out. Many, if not most of the Dublin hospitals are far out of date already, so that the hospitals may have to move out to be nearer to the University rather than the University staying to be near ramshackle, falling-down hospitals.

The proposer of the motion mentions the possibility of constituting other University Colleges. He mentioned Limerick and, of course, the need for expenditure on the University Colleges in Cork and Galway. Incidentally, the University Colleges of both Cork and Galway have got, from the point of view of surrounding space, garden and fields, far better sites than University College, Dublin, ever had, and they value them; and they constitute certainly a most valuable element in the education that is provided.

The possibility of starting a university college in another centre is a separate problem really, although it is mentioned in the motion. On the question of a university college in Limerick, I should be inclined to say no. I can imagine that parents of the students round about Limerick might prefer, for the sake of convenience and keeping in touch with the students, and so on, a local [956] university, but I believe a university in a capital city has got things to offer to the student population which no provincial university, not even Oxford or Cambridge themselves, in Britain, which are universities of some repute, can offer. I believe a university in a capital city can provide not merely all the amenities of social life, libraries, museums and so on, but also the most valuable dwarfing sensation for the student, who though he is a king inside the university walls, is cut down to his right size when he walks outside in a capital city where he is a nobody.

That is a thing that can happen to some extent in a town like Oxford, and does not happen sufficiently in Cambridge, and would not happen at all in a town like Limerick where the students might well get an over-in-flated opinion of their own importance, which they can be successfully prevented from getting in a capital city the size of Dublin.

I do not think it matters from that point of view whether a university is situated at the heart of the city or two or three miles out. The city is there and will be used and will be valuable and available to the students.

Trinity College, which I represent in this Seanad, and where I was an undergraduate, has the good fortune to have coupled together both the space, the grounds and the central situation. Yet there is no doubt but that already in Trinity College space is getting short. When we say that Trinity College is lucky in that way, we must also say that the successive administrations of Trinity College deserve some credit, because so many institutions of that kind would have sold the ground for the value of it for building office-blocks, and perhaps have let it go in a way that they did not do. Therefore, credit is due to them for preserving for their students, graduates, and indeed for the citizens of Ireland, this central lung in the City of Dublin. However, it is already too small, and the shortage of space is becoming increasingly apparent.

In that connection I come to the suggestion made by Senator Barry and by others of the possibility of some [957] kind of working arrangement with Trinity College, the amalgamation or merger of the colleges in certain respects. That is the kind of thing which appeals at first sight, and one would say: “Why not?” Yet, in relation to certain subjects in Arts, for instance, where the number of students is already at a maximum, such an amalgamation would not in practice be either possible or desirable. If there is a class of maximum size in each college, putting both classes together does not provide the answer. It might be valuable for other subjects, where the number of students is small. The situation is a bit different in Science, because of the great degree of specialisation that is necessary, and the breaking down into so many different compartments. I would suggest that the development of the sciences in the two Dublin Colleges should be closely inter-connected and carried out through a joint plan.

There is a ban, however, upon Catholic students attending Trinity College. How are the College authorities going to deal with that situation? How can you plan so that certain specialisations in Science shall be open only in Trinity, and certain others only in University College, Dublin, if Catholic students cannot engage in some of these specialisations because there is an ecclesiastical ban on their attendance at Trinity College? The report says on page 8: “But in our case special causes operated. Catholic and Nationalist Ireland had been waiting a long time for a proper University so that students rushed to it when it came.” Students rushed to it partly for those reasons, but partly also because they were specifically told by ecclesiastical authorities that they must not go to Trinity College for fear of excommunication.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  On a point of order, has the ecclesiastical ban anything to do with this motion?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  No, it has not. The Senator should cease to discuss it.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  My suggestion is that if you are to plan an integration [958] of the two Colleges, you cannot pretend that the ban is irrelevant.

The next question I want to deal with is the money. It has been suggested that £10,000,000 will meet the situation. It may turn out to be less; it may turn out to be more. Have we got the money? We are talking now as a House of Parliament. We must ask the question: Is the money there? We must also ask the subsidiary question, if the money is there: Will it be best spent immediately on such a project? What are the needs of the other elements in education; for instance, secondary education? In the North of Ireland a secondary school gets 65 per cent. of the cost of putting up a new building. In the Republic, secondary schools get not a penny. Some of the secondary schools may well say: “Are you not putting the cart before the horse in building first for University students?”

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  That is not relevant, either. If the Senator reads the motion, he will find it is not relevant.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  The motion refers to the transfer of University College, Dublin, to Belfield. I cannot pretend that that will not cost money. Other Senators who mentioned the cost were not ruled out of order, and I think it is legitimate to put such a question.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Senator is suggesting an alternative method of spending money and it has nothing to do with this motion.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  If we decide that the money is there, which we have not quite decided, we may legitimately ask: Is this the best purpose to which it can be put in relation to the Department of the Minister for Education?

I shall pass, however, to the question of the nature of the education which will be planned for in this way. A graduate of University College, Dublin, not so very long ago in a newspaper controversy said: “In the moral nursery of University College we are allowed only soft toys,” the [959] suggestion being that in U.C.D. an adult and liberal approach was difficult not to say sometimes impossible.

I should like to believe that if and when the transfer is made of U.C.D. from its existing site out to Belfield, there will be not merely a broadening of acres but also a broadening of minds. It would be a tragedy if it were to turn out to be a question of narrow minds on broad acres. I have sufficient faith in the effect upon the minds of shared accommodation not only of students but also of the authorities to believe that there, too, there will be an improvement, though it is true—and has been true down the history of all colleges, certainly of Trinity College—that the students body has always been in the matter of liberalism well ahead of the authorities.

I think, however, that it is a symptom of the broadening that is taking effect already that one of the graduates in whom the authorities now take pride in their brochure was James Joyce. They mention James Joyce by name. I think that is a sign and a token of the broadening of minds. I quoted on another occasion Cardinal Newman's suggestion that the fact that professors were “men of information” and had immense factual learning did not in itself necessarily guarantee “an absence of narrowness of mind”. Yet I believe that the effect of space and of a really residential college which becomes possible only by the transfer—and I regard this as one of its main justifications—will be to bring about a more liberal and adult approach to many things in this College.

Therefore, I regard the general principle of this transfer as eminently sound. The ultimate effect cannot but be good, if we look forward far enough. Consequently, while I listened with respect to what has been said, I disagree with the principle underlying the motion itself. I should like, however, to enter a caveat related to this question of priorities. For entry to the universities, there is a double test: one test is intellectual; the other is a [960] money test. I believe that in education our first duty is to the have-nots of Irish education, the national school children. Our second duty is to secondary, vocational and technical education, and our third and ultimate duty is at the university level. The sooner we can fulfil this third duty, the better, but first things should come first. Short term, therefore, I believe other things must come first. If this new university is to be what we hope it will be—available and accessible to the children of all the people—other things must come first. In the long-term view, however, the move to Belfield, in my opinion, is right.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  I am supporting this motion. I think if this vast amount of money—£10 million has been mentioned—is to be spent on the transfer of the National University to Belfield, we have many more pressing claims for it. We already have six universities, three in Dublin, and I think that is adequate. I do not object to the money being spent if we can afford it, but I agree with Senator Crowley. I do not think we can afford it on a project such as this. In the first place, 80 per cent. of our graduates are being exported. We are getting money from other countries to start industries here and now we are about to give a big sum of money to educate graduates for export. I do not think that adds up.

Senator O'Donovan spoke about conditions for students. He is much more familiar than I am with the position and he may be right, but my knowledge of the students' conditions leads me to believe that, while they have not the facilities the Trinity students have, the students of the National University are not without adequate facilities for the four or five years they attend the University. Conditions may not be all we desire but we cannot afford to spend all this money on the transfer to Belfield. It is too much to spend for too small an income. As I said, 70 per cent. or 80 per cent. of our graduates are exported——

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Nonsense—absolute nonsense.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  It is not nonsense.

[961]Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is absolutely untrue.

Mr. Pendergrast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Seventy or 80 per cent. of our graduates——

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Seventy or 80 per cent. are most certainly not exported. There is no truth at all in that statement.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  It is very near that figure.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It is not near that figure. That is a foolish figure.

Mr. Carter: Information on Frank Carter  Zoom on Frank Carter  It is the meat quota the Senator is thinking of.

Mr. Prendergast: Information on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  Zoom on Micheal Anthony Prendergast  I support Senator Crowley's motion because I think it is ludicrous to spend that amount of money on graduating students of whom, in my opinion, 60 or 70 or 80 per cent. are educated for export.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Eoin David Senior Ryan  Zoom on Eoin David Senior Ryan  While listening to Senator Sheehy Skeffington proving so conclusively that no university nowadays could possibly develop and expand within the confines of a city, I felt sure that he was about to make a dramatic announcement that Trinity was to move to the suburbs. I realise now that he is not going to make that announcement and that it will not be heard for a very long time. It means in effect, that Senator Sheehy Skeffington's advice was that this is a very good thing for another body to do but that they had no intention of doing anything like that in Trinity. It means that Trinity will retain its position, even improve its position, as a university having the right to call itself “Dublin University” and that University College, Dublin, when it moves, will not have quite so good a right to call itself University College, Dublin.

The Senator's advice reminds me of something that happened to me some time ago. I was living very near the city when a friend of mine who was thinking of changing house asked my advice. I proved to him, just as conclusively as Senator Sheehy Skeffington has done, that the proper place for him to live would be 18 or 20 miles from the city and that all the [962] advantages lay in that. He took my advice and moved out. A short time ago, he asked me why I did not take my own advice. I felt compelled then to act on my own advice and I now live a considerable distance from the city and I am not quite so convinced that it was such a good idea to move. I hope when U.C.D. move to Belfield, they will not feel that Senator Sheehy Skeffington's advice is bad advice.

There is something very attractive about a lost cause and I should like to say a few words about that part of the motion which deals with the move to Belfield. That part of the motion appears to me to be fighting a lost cause. When this matter was being discussed about a year ago I had strong views on it and, had this motion been tabled for discussion a year ago, I should have expressed strong views on it. I believed at that time—I was not completely convinced—that, on balance, a case had been made for adapting the existing site at Earlsfort Terrace to meet the needs of U.C.D.. I believed at that time that the site at Belfield had many disadvantages.

This proposed move to Belfield has never been discussed with the degree of objectivity it demanded. I believe public opinion could have been persuaded and could have been converted to Belfield as the best possible and the only site for the University but unfortunately the public relations of U.C.D. have not been very good in recent years. The authorities there do not seem to have learned the art of gentle persuasion; and lack of concern for public opinion probably led to the fact that there was so much opposition and that there is today still so much opposition to the move from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield.

In considering this matter, I must admit that my views have been deeply influenced by the Ó Dalaigh Commission and by the fact that the Commission came down on the side of Belfield, having made a very objective and exhaustive examination of the problem. The fact that the Commission made that recommendation makes me feel there must be a good deal to be said for the move to Belfield, though my instinct is against [963] the move. I am doubtful, despite the recommendations of the Commission, that Belfield will ever achieve the success its advocates hope it will. Distance from the centre of the city, from hospitals, from cultural centres, from vocational centres and so forth will be a very serious disadvantage. I have a lingering conviction that Earlsfort Terrace and the surrounding district could, with considerable success, be adapted and I have no doubt that, so adapted, it would be a far better site. It would have the background and the atmosphere. Atmosphere is an intangible which cannot be measured and which cannot be explained. It cannot be created. It is highly important. I am doubtful whether the atmosphere which a university must have in order to be successful will ever be successfully created in Belfield.

This matter is now a fait accompli and our discussion here tonight cannot really affect the result. I do not feel, therefore, that any purpose would be served in supporting this motion. The only thing we can do in relation to that part of the motion which deals with the move to Belfield is to ensure that the new university will be designed in the best possible taste, with the benefit of the best possible architectural advice. I hope that in planning and design, and in the taking of major decisions due regard will be had to the fact that this University is the concern of every section of our people and not just of one particular section.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Ba mhaith liom a lán a rá mar gheall air seo ach fé mar adúirt an Seanadóir Ó Riain tá an t-am thart nuair ba cheart an chaint sin a dhéanamh nó nuair ba cheart an caoi sin a thúirt dona daoine chun caint mar sin a dhéanamh. Tá luí agam leis an dtairiscint a dhein an Seanadóir Ó Cruaidhlaoich. Sin é an tuairim atá agam féin fé mar atá sé scríofa aige sin. Fé mar adúirt mé, tá an t-uisce scéite as an abhainn agus ní h-aon mhaith bheith dhá chásamh a thuille cén caoi ar cinneadh ar dul amach go dtí an áit sin le hIolscoile Náisiúnta na hÉireann.

[964] Tá neithe ann gur mhaith an rud iad a léiriú. Cathain, má tá an stair ag an Aire, a thosnaigh an rud seo? Cé thosnaigh é? Cad é an t-údarás a fuarthas chun dul ar aghaidh leis na pleananna a bhí acu? An raibh an Rialtas agus na hAirí gur bhain an scéal leo, Aire an Airgid agus Aire an Oideachais, an raibh said san san margaíocht? An raibh said san i láthair nuair a críochnaíodh an mhargaíocht? Is ceisteanna iad sin a thaispéanfadh cá háit a thosnaigh an gnó seo agus cad é an t-údarás a bhí ag an daoine a thosnaigh é chun ceangal a chur ar Rialtas na hÉireann suim mhór airgid a chaitheamh chun an bille sin a íoch.

Táthar cúramach go leor i dtaobh aon mheastacháin a thúirt ar cad a chosnódh an t-aistriú. Luaitear £10 milliún. Ní dóigh liomsa gur leor £10 milliún. Béifear ag lorg milliúin, agus milliúin agus milliúin go dtí go sroisfidh sé £15 milliúin nó £20 milliúin sar a mbeidh an áit críochnaithe. Beidh ortha na neithe is riachtanach a sholáthar le haghaidh iolscoile. Caithfear tithe lóistín a chur ann. Caithfear bialanna, hallaí, gléasra ealaín, gléasra innealltóireachta agus gléasra de gach aon tsaghas a sholáthar. Ní raghaimíd saor as an aistriú fé bhun £15 milliúin is dóigh liomsa. Sin bille a chuirfidh crith-eagla ar phobal na hÉireann. Is cinnte nach in aon bhliain amháin a bheidh sin le caitheamh ach beidh gá le £20 milliúin sar a mbeidh an iolscoil éifeachtúil chun gnó iolscoile a dhéanamh go foirfe. sin iad na neithe nach bhfuil aon léiriú fágtha againn ina dtaobh. Táimid ar shlí ag ceannach muc i mála agus gan a fhios againn cad a chosnóidh an banbh céanna.

Tá tagairt san dtairiscint ag an Seanadóir don iolscoil i Luimneach. Tá mé ar fad taobhach leis sin. Ba cheart go mbeadh iolscoil ansúd chun freastal ar ghnóthaí talamhaíochta— gnóthaí a bhaineann leis an dúthaigh sin agus go bhfuil an dúthaigh oiriúnach dóibh. Ba cheart Cólaiste a bheith ann a thabharfadh aire dóibh sin.

Táthar ag gearán nach bhfuil slí san gColáiste i mBaile Átha Cliath agus don mhéid daoine atá ann. Tá [965] sin fíor ach san am gcéanna táthar ag lorg a thuilleadh daoine. Ní fada ó shoin gur rugadar greim ar a chuid féin den Choláiste Tréad-Liagh agus fuaradar greim ar na banaltraí chun iad a choinneáil san gColáiste. San am gcéanna tá siad ag gearán go bhfuil an iomarca daoine san gColáiste i mBaile Átha Cliath.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Cé fuair greimh ortha? Dob éigin dóibh glacadh leo.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Bhí níos mó ná sin ann.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Tá a fhios agam-sa.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Agus agam-sa leis. Bhíodar ag iarraidh na dreamanna sin a ghlacadh isteach san gColáiste. Ba mhaith an rud é. Níl mé ina aghaidh. Fiche bliain ó shoin ní raibh slí san gColáiste ach do mhíle nó míle go leith duine agus tá 5,000 ag freastal air anois. Sin scéal a chaithfear a réiteach. Táthar chun túirt faoin réiteach. An réiteach atáthar a dhéanamh—agus seo an mímhuinín atá orm—níor léiríodh é don phobal go ceart. Ar shlí, tá sé déanta i gan fhios don phobal go dtí le déanaí. Sin é an locht atá agam ar an scéal. Tá sé ró-dhéanach chun chur ina choinne agus b'fhéidir go bhfuil sé chomh maith scaoileadh leis.

Mr. O'Reilly rose.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  Senator Quinlan was not here when it was announced that the Minister would be allowed in at half-past nine.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There is nothing to prevent the Minister getting in at 9.30 p.m. He will not be available to the House tomorrow for a public reason. I do not see any reason why the Minister should not get in now and have the debate continued tomorrow, even in the absence of the Minister. If he cannot be here that is not his fault.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  I thought we agreed to finish at 10 o'clock?

[966]An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  We certainly did but Senator Crowley has the right to reply. I do not think there will be a lot of business tomorrow. The debate could finish after Government Business tomorrow. I shall call on the Minister now.

Mr. P. Crowley: Information on Patrick Crowley  Zoom on Patrick Crowley  Would you allow me make a brief statement, Sir, by way of explanation of a statement made by Senator Ó Maoláin? I merely want to prevent the Minister dealing with a particular aspect of the matter alluded to by Senator Ó Maoláin.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  I do not think there is any danger. The Senator can deal with that when winding up the debate.

Mr. P. Crowley: Information on Patrick Crowley  Zoom on Patrick Crowley  I think Senator Ó Maoláin took up what I said in a——

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  I did not get what the Senator said. Does he insinuate that what I said was incorrect?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach:  No; he said that you misunderstood him.

Minister for Education (Dr. Hillery): Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I think the Senator was about to refer to his opening remarks. He referred to the offhand way in which the Government handled the Seanad in going ahead with the transfer arrangements for the University before this debate could take place. All I would say is that the matter was one of extreme urgency and could not possibly have waited the 12 months the Seanad were waiting to debate the motion on the Order Paper. I do not think the urgency of the problem of accommodation at U.C.D. has been fully appreciated. It is a matter of fact. It is a situation which has developed not alone in Dublin, Galway and Cork, but all over the world. In recent years, the universities have suddenly found themselves receiving a number of students they were never prepared to receive from the point of view of accommodation. It has become an urgent problem in every country in the world. It was an urgent problem here in the three colleges, but particularly urgent in U.C.D.

[967] I have the views of the Government on this matter when introducing the token Vote to Dáil Éireann in March of last year. I was surprised that some Senators seemed to be under the impression that the Government took action without going to Dáil Eireann, because they spoke of the Government taking action and did not refer to the debate in Dáil Eireann at all. In fact, it was a weird experience to hear the matter discussed as if it had never been mentioned before. I feel the best thing I could do now is to repeat, for the information of this House, the principal reasons which impelled the Government to ask Dáil Eireann to ratify in principle the proposal to transfer University College, Dublin, to the Belfield site.

I think I could start by saying that this proposal to transfer the University College to Belfield could be described as a move that nobody seems to have wanted. I have not met anybody who desired to transfer U.C.D. from Earlsfort Terrace to a suburban site. They may be there, but I have not met them. The reasons which the Government took into consideration were, in short, that an independent Commission had over a long period, a year and a half—— this is for the benefit of people who ask us to take a steady look at the problem—studied the problem and found that the present accommodation in the College is utterly inadequate, that to attempt to solve the problem by building on the site or in the vicinity of the site would cause such a disturbance to homes, businesses and other institutions that the granting of compulsory powers would not be warranted.

I suppose I should mention that you could not plan a university by simply waiting for occasional buildings to become available. It would have to be done by the exercise of a great deal of compulsory power over a wide area. The Commission found they could not recommend that that course be taken. Finally, the Commission, which confessed to have set out on their work favouring the developing of a local site, found after deliberations of a year and a half that the final solution of the [968] University's accommodation problem could not be achieved on the site in the city but could be achieved only by transferring the University to Belfield.

I am sure people who have been interested in the problem are aware that the Commission presented an extensive report. As I said, the problem was an international and world-wide one. They had available to them people in other cities and other countries faced with the same problem when making their decisions. They went very thoroughly into it and that is their conclusion. I found that the decision which had to be made was not a matter of electing between one site in the city and another in the suburbs, but whether we should go ahead and solve the problem or spend more time waiting around. The urgency of the problem demanded that we go ahead and make a decision.

Nothing has transpired since I gave those reasons to cause the Government to change their mind. On the contrary, the number of students in University College this year has risen by 400. Incidentally, I believe half of that rise is attributable to students following science courses. As has been mentioned, there are now well over 5,000 students in attendance at University College, Dublin, with a prospect of a similar increase of roughly 400 in each of the years to come.

That renders the matter of the transfer more urgent than ever. Indeed, the position has become so grave in U.C.D. that in order to avert a complete breakdown in the work of the College in the near future, the Government have recently authorised the College authorities to proceed with the building of a complete new science block on the Belfield site to cater for some 1,100 students following courses in science. That has not been advertised for tender. It will not go ahead without being advertised, but it is waiting on the preparation of advertisements for tender. The College authorities have, at the same time, been informed that apart from the question of the science block, which brooks of no delay, the Government have decided there should be an architectural [969] competition for the lay-out generally of the new College.

As regards section (b) of the motion, I have already made it known—and I am surprised it was not known here —that since the debate on the Belfield site last year I have sanctioned a sum of £60,000 for the provision of additional accommodation at University College, Cork, and a sum of £45,000 for a similar purpose at University College, Galway.

Mr. Barry: Information on Anthony Barry  Zoom on Anthony Barry  Did the Minister insist on an architectural competition there? Was a competition advertised?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I do not think an architectural competition will be necessary. The main problem is much the same as the science problem in Dublin— urgency. It is not a leisurely matter of planning for a university in 50 years. There is an urgent problem. As I said there may be a breakdown in our higher education. We must solve that problem and we cannot afford to have leisurely conversations about what we might do. The decision had to be made, and provision had to be made.

On the question of the establishment of other constituent colleges, the House, I am sure, is aware that the terms of reference of the Commission on Higher Education which is now in existence are wide enough to permit consideration of that matter. I think such a problem should be a matter for a commission because it is a very big problem and needs a careful and steady examination.

I am sorry I did not have an opportunity of hearing the Seanad last year, but I am very glad we were able to hear Senators even now. It has not been a unanimous move, as I said, and those opposed to it have helped just as much as those in favour by making, as I have said in another place, the whole matter clear in my mind by putting up opposition to the proposal.

Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: Information on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  Zoom on Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington  I wonder if I might ask the Minister one question about the temporary science block. Is it or is it not being planned [970] to be integrated with the future full scheme?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  We were forced by urgency to build it now. In so far as it can be fitted in to the overall plan, it will and must be done, but it is bound, by the very fact of having to be build beforehand, not to fit in as if it were part of the complete plan. That has to be taken into consideration and it will be part of the wide lay out.

Mr. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  The Minister will agree that it will have to be pre-decided in the overall structural arrangements?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I think I have already said that.

Mr. O'Reilly: Information on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  Zoom on Patrick Firmullagh OReilly  I think that should not happen.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  No one wants it. It is thrust upon us by urgency.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Will the Minister not agree that the word “temporary” is not correct? It is not a temporary building. The science block which is being erected will be permanent and not in any way temporary.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  It is the full and final science block.

Mr. Barry: Information on Anthony Barry  Zoom on Anthony Barry  How will it fit in with the architectural competition?

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It will be in the lay out.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  This is forced upon us and it will be up to the architect to fit it in with the general lay out in the competition.

Mr. Barry: Information on Anthony Barry  Zoom on Anthony Barry  That is not the way Trinity was built.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  They did not have the rush on accommodation that we have at the moment.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  An bhfuil an láithreán iomlán tógtha?

Pádraig Ó hIrighile: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Níl faic déanta fós.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  An bhfuil aon chontúirt ann 'sa tslí atá in aigne [971] ag an Seanadóir Ó Raghallaigh? An bhfuil aon chontúirt ann nach mbeidh an Tigh Eolaiochta ins an stíl cheánna leis na cinn eile?

Pádraig Ó hIrighile: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Beidh comórtas ann.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Le haghaidh na háite go léir?

Pádraig Ó hIrighile: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Sea.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Suíomh na h-áite ina iomláine.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  I am sorry that owing to circumstances outside my control I was unable to be present at the debate. At this late hour I have a few brief observations to make.

I cannot understand how anybody can hold that this whole problem was never discussed with the required degree of objectivity. I believe the Government adopted a very sane and rational approach to this matter. The Ó Dálaigh Commission was one of the most hard-working and efficient commissions we have ever had. I have seen that Commission in action. I must pay the highest possible tribute to their approach to the problem and to their genuine desire to ensure that the utmost objectivity was at all times maintained. I congratulate the Government on accepting the report as it came. The document is a first-class production. It charts the needs of University expansion here for a good while to come.

The Minister quite rightly stressed the problem of the urgency of accommodation. One realises the necessity to do something when one is endeavouring to put into a classroom three times as many students as the room was designed to hold. This problem of urgency of accommodation is equally compelling in the provincial colleges. We are constantly up against the problem of trying to find space to take classes. At this stage we have used every additional part available. I admit a very high sense of urgency in the problems of University College, Dublin, but, in some respects, our problems in University College, Cork, are more compelling. [972] University College, Dublin, has been able to move to a four-year Science course while we are still endeavouring to get the accommodation together in the beginning of a very necessary progressive step.

We are grateful to the Minister for the sum of £60,000 he has made available but that is only ten per cent. of the sum at which the Commission set our accommodation needs. Our worry is really what we are to plan for. May we take it that the Government will implement the recommendations in regard to University College, Cork, as they have agreed to, in principle, for University College, Dublin, and consequently that we can plan to spend the £60,000 as part of a continuing plan to bring our accommodation needs up to what has been recommended by the space Commission?

Another suggestion is that in planning for the future we must have the best and most practical standards for our buildings. That means that some of the recommendations of the space Commission may have to be increased upwards due to standards adopted by the college concerned being somewhat low. That applies to my own college where our allowances, as we now find, are not up to modern international standards. They may appear tolerable to us in the condition in which we find ourselves but they are not fully up to international standards and will probably have to be increased somewhat. Therefore, the bill for our college will be much more in the region of £1,500,000 than in the region £600,000 or £700,000 as was first envisaged in the Commission report.

Any investment in higher education is a first-class investment for the nation as a whole. Coming at a time in international history when there is such a pressure and demand for university education, I feel that if there are any spaces vacant we should bear them very much in mind as many outsiders are clamouring for them. The greatest possible contribution we could make at the moment to the emerging Continent of Africa would be to provide facilities within our universities and other institutions for the training of future African leaders. Only this week, I read [973] that the Vatican has taken special steps to make university facilities available in Rome as a counter to what is being done in Moscow. We, too, should make our contribution in that respect. It is a contribution also in respect of which we might expect a certain amount of assistance from other western nations who perhaps are not in as good a position as we are to win confidence and to aid in the training of the future leaders of modern Africa.

I congratulate the Minister. I should like that he would keep the sense of urgency uppermost in his mind. I hope that, before very long, he will give us full details of his plans. The sum of £60,000 is the first instalment. We can look with confidence to the future and to the part the University will play in the future just as it has in the past. We have been on rather meagre resources but we have tried to do the best we can and to keep a spirit of independence uppermost. Whether we offend or not by that, it is the hallmark of a true university and I hope we never depart from it.

We may be criticised but let nobody say that we are departing from the university standards of objectivity in our approach to matters. I would stress the part the provincial colleges play. Theirs is a very vital role in the provinces. The Minister has very kindly left the rather thorny question of development in other centres to the present Commission. I would stress that our accommodation problem cannot wait until the present Commission have reported. I hope that by the time the report arrives we shall have gone far past the stage of our science building and will be moving on to making some provision for the long-neglected Faculty of Arts, the Faculty that provides our administrators, our teachers and generally our public leaders. This has long been neglected. The absence of reasonable university facilities for that essential Faculty has, I venture to say, been very much a retarding influence in our development in the past 20 or 30 years.

We look forward with confidence to the future. Since the war, we have taken steps to send out the best of our [974] students for training. It is a great source of pride to us when they head the classes in international academies. Last June, one of our Cork students headed the list in the examination for the Masters Degree in Engineering in the world-famous Californian Institute of Technology. We have five students at that Institute at the moment. They are working their way to Doctorates and not one of them will cost the Irish taxpayer a penny. They have all won fellowships from that renowned institution in competition with the world's best.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I should like to say a few words on this before the House adjourns. The Minister in his speech, which was all too modest and brief, did stress the important point about this problem. It is extremely urgent. He said the urgency of the accommodation problem at University College, Dublin, did not appear to be appreciated by speakers here. That was a very decided understatement because the keynote of the debate by those who supported the motion was: “Postpone, postpone, postpone; let us have consideration; let us have commissions; let us have competitions; let us have anything except buildings for University College, Dublin.” But the Minister, and all of us who have to work at University College, Dublin, all who have seen it, and the Government Commission which came to U.C.D. and went elsewhere, are convinced that the problem of accommodation is extremely urgent.

None of the people who spoke in support of the motion showed any sense of that urgency. The keynote of what they had to say was: “Postpone, postpone, postpone,” and when they could not postpone in one way, they thought of another way. Even when the legitimate claims of University College, Cork, did appear to be about to be fulfilled, my friend, Senator Barry, could not see why University College, Dublin, should get a building unless the proposal of integration with Trinity College, Dublin, was first settled. I wonder whether Senator Barry has given this problem any consideration at all because that is a very difficult——

[975]Mr. Barry: Information on Anthony Barry  Zoom on Anthony Barry  Senator Barry's case is that nobody has ever given it consideration.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  If that is his case, he is completely wrong. Plenty of people have given it consideration and all of us who did were not of the same religion or politics or all of the same college. One thing which anyone who has given it consideration knows is that it will take a long time to resolve. As the Minister properly stated, University College, Dublin, would have broken down and its science department would have collapsed before any progress was made on that particular front, and I know a little bit about it.

That is the keynote of all the speeches here this evening about Belfield: “Do not go to Belfield— postpone, postpone, postpone.” I should like to congratulate the Minister and the Government on not having adopted that view. It is not a case of someone in University College, Dublin, wanting a building, which one would imagine was the case. It is not a case of the President of University College, Dublin, or some group there wanting to put up the buildings. It is the urgency of accommodating Irish students who want to learn at university level and, in particular, to keep abreast of scientific developments in other countries. These are the considerations which influenced the Minister in coming to the decision which he has come to, that University College, Dublin, will be allowed, as he indicated tonight, to build a full science building and not one-sixth of a science building as had previously been permitted. That building will be a strictly utilitarian building and it will not interfere, I think, with the general plan, or interfere with any competition which may be held later on for the general lay-out of the buildings.

That is one point I wanted to make about postponing. Another point is about centralisation. When one speaks about the decentralisation of the University, what does one mean? Does one mean that people should be compelled to go to Cork or to Galway? I am sure [976] the Minister for Education could not see himself in the role of a person who would say to a particular parent: “There is room for your son at University College, Cork but there is no room for him in Dublin,” or to another: “You cannot go to Cork or to Dublin; you must go to Galway.” That is the logical conclusion in regard to the arguments made here about decentralisation. It is quite untrue to say that University College, Dublin, has made efforts to get students. The growth of the College has been natural and has not been induced. It has not been organised. University College, Dublin, has high standards and a highly qualified staff and it has this most important thing, high fees, but they do not keep the students out.

The notion that someone in University College, Dublin, for self-aggrandisement, for self-esteem or reputation is inducing students to come to University College, Dublin, is completely contrary to the facts. It is not true at all. We have had all these things literally forced upon us. I can assure my friend Senator Ó Siochfhradha that the people in the Veterinary College were very anxious to come into University College, Dublin.

Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha: Information on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Zoom on Padraig An Seabhac O Siochfhradha  Is cuimhin liom an t-aighneas idir an dá Choláiste.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Is cuimhin liomsa go raibh fonn ortha teacht isteach chugainn agus sin é an chúis gur thangadar isteach. Mise anso agus fios agam. They came because they wanted to come. They wanted to come very badly and it is many long years since one of them told me he wanted to come. That is one of the points I wanted to clear up.

The Minister said there were two alternatives. One alternative was the one which he had adopted, of going ahead and saving a breakdown in University College, Dublin. The other was: “Wait around.” That is exactly right. Wait around until you see if you can come to an agreement with A or with B, whether you could acquire Alexandra College and having acquired it, whether you could induce the Sacred Heart nuns in Leeson Street to give up their [977] convent. For anybody who has practical experience of how this has been done, these proposals are completely foolish. Senator Ó Donnabháin talked about the areas from College Green to Leeson Street.

Seán Ó Donnabháin: Information on Sean ODonovan  Zoom on Sean ODonovan  St. Stephen's Green.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I beg the Senator's pardon. I think he said College Green, but I will not contradict him. Another thing the Minister said was that he had not met anyone who wanted to transfer from Earlsfort Terrace to Belfield. As long ago as 1941, they appointed a Committee in University College, Dublin, of which I was a member and of which the present President was also a member. We are the only people who ever started a plan to stay in Earlsfort Terrace. No other body, no other person and no other party has ever propounded a [978] plan except the plan which was made in the College for staying in Earlsfort Terrace and we found it would not work. We tried to acquire buildings. As Senator O'Donovan said, we tried to acquire buildings at Mespil House but we were bound to go only to a particular figure and we were outbid.

The Minister quite rightly said that it was not a question of the alternative of staying in Earlsfort Terrace or moving to Belfield. There is no alternative to going to Belfield. Mention was made of compulsory powers, but, as the Minister said, that would involve an enormous number of dwellings and business houses. It would take a long time to exercise them and would cost heaven knows how much.

Debate adjourned.

The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 11th January, 1961.


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