Anyone searching for coherent Irish party positions on universities is likely to come away disappointed, as it is a rare politician who is interested in universities in themselves. Rather, the focus is generally on universities as providers of education; or as recipients of public money; as facilitators or inhibitors of social mobility; as major employers; as researchers; as transmitters of the national culture; as providers of educational services to international students. Also, TDs with no noticeable interest in the functioning of universities might nonetheless be extremely interested in the financial welfare of their students, which will always have implications for the universities themselves.

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