Niamh Breathnach, Former Minister for Education, 1993-1997
Dublin Institute of Technology
Niamh Breathnach was born in Dublin, and qualified as a primary teacher at Carysfort College. She later taught at an inner city school at the Oliver Bond complex, an experience which had a major effect on her socialist beliefs, leading to her decision to join the Labour Party. She ran for public office, winning a Dáil seat in Dublin and became Minister for Education in the Coalition Government on the first day of the new Dáil session. In this recording, she discusses her predecessor in Education, Seamus Brennan, and his work on the Green Paper which she succeeded in having passed. She also discusses her work in having college fees abolished, the people with whom she worked, the setting up of DIT, with the help of her advisor James Wrynn, the guarding of status by the universities, and her work on improving opportunities for good qualifications for women apprentices. She was also very aware of the value of research, and she made major efforts to gain funding for this primarily from Europe.
audio, interviews, educationalists, third level, Ireland