We live in a time where our country’s leader is on trial for corruption and yet is still allowed to run the state and to look into passing legislation that will stop people trying to find out if the claims of corruption are true. That’s Ireland in a nutshell sadly; at the current moment in time. We also have a media situation whereby certain newspapers act as the last bastion of all that is true and factual and are allowed to publish such even if nobody else in the country is aware of the statements that they make.
Readers of my blog will be aware that there is a massive push on, in the South East at the moment to bring a university to a region that is suffering massively, purely because of government policy. The entire region is constantly bypassed, literally in the case of the regional capital Waterford whereby the only substantial road funding given to them in state history, was given to bypass the city and provide less reason for people to go there. The same is true of the university issue. At the moment a case has been made by WIT for re-designation to university status. Re-designation is the key phrase here as WIT is already performing at a university level as has been identified and testified to by several international experts. However, rather than acting on the justified need for a South East university, rather than accepting the opinion of these international experts, and rather than giving regional equality to all of Ireland, the government is perceivably choosing to leak negative information about the WIT case to the press before the publication of an expert report stating otherwise (ref) in what can only be perceived as a dirty rotten attempt to damage the justified case for a university to serve over 460,000 people.
This morning, news broke in the media that CIT (Cork Institute of Technology) were now also seeking university status but in a very contrived way, pandering to the Port report in what could be perceived to be an attempt to grab the governments attention. I say this because CIT are pitching themselves for a University of Technology which was recently identified by Fine Gael as the type of organisation that should over-arch the entire Institute of Technology (IoT) sector. It is understood that an e-mail was sent to every student in CIT yesterday to this effect – very clever indeed. Of course this doesn’t bring back any memories of the last time that WIT, WRTC at the time, won IT status and then pressure from the Cork lobby caused the government to completely undermine the entire IoT sector by upgrading every RTC in the country to IT status. Also, let’s not forget that the DIT name has surfaced in the last week, an institute that made a rejected application for university status in the late 90’s and hasn’t been heard of since, until now that is.
Now all this political nonsense would be bad enough if it wasn’t for the antics of certain education editors, in certain national publications, who are so set against a university for the South East. It is almost laughable to read their petty ramblings only for the fact that they influence so many opinions to the detriment of justified cases like this. They publish grand, non-quoted, and therefore non-attributable, statements about certain government figures being sceptical about the WIT case when there is, in fact, no government position published on this matter at all, to-date. They also comment on the effect that CIT’s out-of-the-blue application for university status will negatively effect WIT’s application but don’t even mention DIT when surely they should all be competing? Competing for university status in a country of whom the same newspaper proudly quoted the OECD report of 2004 as saying there should be no more universities within, when it was only WIT on the table for discussion – where is the OECD report mentioned for DIT’s or CIT’s case? No, this is highly contrived, negatively biased, unprofessional journalism at its worst! Whether it’s based on secret sources who are clearly not being identified in the publication or whether it is the work of pure imagination and bias we will never know. What is clear however is that something rotten is at play here. If certain arrogant, prima donna, ministers think that the South East is going to fight amongst themselves over this issue or that we will simply roll over and take it then they are in for a very rude awakening. The people of the South East know that this is the sole doing of the current government parties and the votes of the last election would be recalled if many had the chance to express how they currently feel.
Don’t let this political and negative media campaign destroy an entire region of Ireland as it is trying to do! This is the lives of 460,000 people that we are talking about, not GAA-style inter-county rivalry!