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Yes minister: Ireland debates pros and cons of science in cabinet

Does Ireland need a new government department to join together higher education and scientific research? That was the topic of a recent high-level workshop in Dublin and views were decidedly mixed.

Two of the participants at the workshop organised by the Royal Irish Academy on 3 July, Patrick Clancy of University College Dublin and former education minister Mary Hanafin, found themselves on opposite sides of the debate. They were joined by four others including three speakers from abroad, and an audience that included university presidents, research scientists and civil servants.

The speakers were asked to respond to the question “Does Ireland need a minister for higher education and research?” and the lively exchanges that ensued made for an interesting afternoon.

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