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16 July 2024  

Statement on the passing of Niamh Bhreathnach, former Minister for Education


The National University of Ireland is saddened to hear of the passing of Niamh Bhreathnach, the Labour Party politician, former Minister for Education and Teachta Dála for Dun Laoghaire.

A champion of educational reform, Ms Bhreathnach abolished third level tuition fees, upgraded regional technical colleges to the status of technological institutions and put in place extra teaching posts for underprivileged schools during her time in office from 1993 – 1997. The subjects of CSPE and SPHE were also introduced during her time, which placed an emphasis on the dignity and agency of young people, on a personal level and on a civic level. She was also the first ever female chairperson for the Labour Party. She introduced the University Act 1997, increasing universities’ accountability for their use of public funds.

Ms Bhreathnach’s political career was devoted to ensuring that education provide opportunities for all, and her positive impact on the sector still resonates today.


Further information from:

Dr Patrick O'Leary
National University of Ireland
49 Merrion Square
Dublin 2, D02 V583
Ph: 01 4392424
Twitter: @NUIMerrionSq
Facebook: National University of Ireland