My Education Week at Limerick, January 1970

Since 1845, when Limerick failed to get one of the Queen’s Colleges that went to Cork and Galway, a campaign for a university in Limerick simmered. Eventually in the 1960s it flared into a boisterous national campaign organised by the Limerick University Project Committee (LUPC). After the tragic death of Limerick’s flamboyant Minister for Education, Donogh O’Malley in 1968 the government yielded, but refused to establish a constituent college of the NUI in the image of Cork or Galway; instead an institute of higher education was announced. While mention was made of ‘Ireland’s MIT’ and parallels were drawn with the … Continue reading...

Beal na mBlath Address

Michael Collins Commemoration

Beal na mBlath

Ed Walsh

21 August 2011

It is some 47 years since last I stood here.
It must be admitted my motives were romantic rather than political:  I was madly in love with Stephanie, the
youngest daughter of Fine Gael TD for Cork, Stephen Barrett.

There was also another good family reason for being here….of
which I was unaware at the time.

It certainly had nothing to do with my mother’s side. They were happy
to see Ireland part of the United Kingdom and the British Empire: indeed their
world started to fall apart when … Continue reading...

Martin McGuinness

The peace process emerged from the Hume/Adams dialogue of 1992 and these discussions laid the foundations for everything that followed. Hume facilitated the entry of the IRA/Sinn Fein into the Peace Process in return for which they undertook to

·         Decommission IRA arms

·         Disband the IRA and its Army Council

The former has been delivered but there are questions about the latter.

Significant developments, such as IRA cease fires, were normally made public by press statements issued under the pseudonym of P. O’Neill of the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau, Dublin. No statement has been issued from this source stating Continue reading...



Friends, Foes & Founding a University





Memoir published by The Collins Press, 2011… Continue reading...

Wake-up call for the small nations of Europe

A Wake-up Call for
the Small Nations of Europe

Ed Walsh

The relief and satisfaction in Ireland, following the
Euro-summit, that reduced interest rates and extended loan repayment periods,
is similar to that of the inmate returned from solitary confinement to the regular
prison cell.

The reduction of the harshness of Ireland’s sentence was
triggered, not through compassion for a small country, but by financial market
events that threatened two large economies, Spain and Italy, and the future of
the Euro in a way that concentrated minds in Brussels and Berlin.  Finding rational solutions for economic
recovery in countries large … Continue reading...

Reforming Irish Education

Reforming Irish education: the challenge for the next minister

Edward Walsh

Spending more does not necessarily mean that schools become better; in fact they sometimes become worse.  During the past decade
Britain increased school funding by 21 percent and the US by 37 percent, yet
standards slipped in both countries.[1]   In Ireland’s case the bad outcome is even more dramatic.  In the past decade funding
per student [2]  was increased in real terms by 61 percent[3]
yet performance decreased by 15 percent[4].  This disconcerting news was further reinforced before Christmas when the international ranking for Ireland’s

Continue reading...

A National Government of Unity

A National Government of Unity

Edward Walsh

Many in Britain, who came through the harrowing years of war,
the London blitz, the struggle to defend against invasion and the eventual
defeat of Germany, recall the period as one of great personal fulfilment and
satisfaction.   British political parties set aside their
differences and formed a national government of unity for the duration of the
war.   The prime minister’s inspired leadership
rallied people to the cause; the parliamentary routine of peacetime was abandoned.  A united people responded to the challenge and,
under conditions of great hardship, contributed to the war effort and… Continue reading...

Institutional Reform, MacGill Summer School 2010

The Challenge of Institutional Reform

Ed Walsh

The political leadership of ‘nouveau riche’ Ireland failed during
the past decade to make policy based on evidence; opportunity and public
resources were squandered.  Now, as
Ireland stares bankruptcy in the eye, we have no option but to abandon the
irresponsible fiscal philosophy of the Ahern and McCreevy era:   we
don’t have it, so we can’t spend it.

We must search for something rational and get the words and
policy right.

While expenditure on road infrastructure has clearly been
beneficial, in other areas throwing money at problems has not worked.  The most glaring … Continue reading...

Talent Deficit in Government

Addressing the Talent Deficit in Government and the Public

Ed Walsh

The democratic institutions of the Republic remain remarkably
unaltered since the foundation of the State. This may be seen as an achievement,
and in ways it is, but it provokes the question whether these are still the
best choice for the governance of Ireland. The STV (single transferable vote) electoral
system, favoured in the English-speaking world when adopted by the first Dail,
is still retained, even though abandoned across the globe by every other democracy
with the exception of Malta. Almost all the states of post World War … Continue reading...

National Governance

The Quality of National Governance can not Exceed the Quality of those who Govern

If Ireland were a business the Director’s would be held liable for reckless trading and the concern would be wound up. Angry shareholders would have good reason for demanding answers to a litany of complaints.

Why did you stimulate rather than curtail the construction bubble? Mention of a property tax and withdrawal of tax incentives would have done the job even though you no longer control interest rates or currency. Why did you narrow rather than broaden the tax base and ignore warnings that the building … Continue reading...