Not one Irish university is currently in the world’s top 100, according to the shock findings of the latest global university rankings.
Six out of eight Irish top-ranked colleges have fallen down the rankings while Trinity College Dublin lost its ranking as Ireland’s only top-100 university, falling from 88th to 104th in the world.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the latest global university rankings show that the Government’s current approach to higher education is failing.Deputy Byrne said, “These results are disappointing and mark a sustained downward trend for Ireland’s universities on the global stage.
"These rankings are an established method of measuring the reputation of third level institutions internationally.
"They by no means tell the complete picture but Minister Bruton’s decision to basically ignore them is negligent and delusional and suggests he does not truly understand the difficulties facing Irish third level institutions."
He added: “Minister Bruton has shown little interest in wanting to tackle the challenges facing third level education. Senior academics have expressed alarm at the difficulties facing third level education yet their concerns have fallen on deaf ears for years now.
“Minister Bruton needs to publish a detailed plan setting out how the Government intends getting Ireland back up in the global rankings.
"The current inertia surrounding third level education policy is unsustainable and is only serving to undermine Irish universities."
Meanwhile, the Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said that unless the Minister for Education addresses the issues with higher education funding, the sector will remain stagnant.
Senator Ó Ríordáin said: “While I am no fan of education ranking systems, the fact that Irish universities continue to fall in the QS World University Rankings, is a damning inditement of the lack of the lack of investment in the third level sector.
“We hear the Minister for Education repeat ad nauseum that he wants to create the best education and training system in Europe, however precarious work is rife in our universities, student-teacher ratios are rapidly increasing and there is a huge problem with under-investment.
“Like in our primary and secondary schools, many employees in the third level sector are leaving Ireland for better opportunities in universities abroad, where there is better job security and conditions.
“The Minister cannot continue to hide behind Action Plans that are not delivering and the Oireachtas Committee on Education when it comes to the future funding of third level education. Fine Gael cannot continue to be so evasive on this issue.”