Tribune Confirms Pin Data, no Roads for the West (or south)

Much of what you say above is incorrect IMO.

(1) Only TCD ranks as a second rate academic institution internationally. UCD is huge, yes, but it has no reputation internationally and joins the rest on the Z-list. Sorry.
(2) I agree Shannon tarnished its reputation by the mandatory stopover and by its greedy and intransigent unions. However, Shannon, via Tony Ryan and Ryanair gave birth to the most successful indigenous multinational this country has seen. It was they who destroyed the Dublin-based aer lingus ripoff monopoly, remember. Ryanair were paying taxes while Aer Lingus was still a burden on the taxpayer.
(3) The logic for improved road/rail links is clearcut. Limerick and Galway by themselves are too small but are physically nearby - they need proper links to create the synergies needed for sustainable urban industrial/service development. Thats supposed to be the job of government - spend a few hundred million euro and enable the exchange of services and people to occur.

In fairness, I don’t think your points are above question.

You’ll likely know the survey I have in mind - its that Chinese one that they use to measure the development of their third level sector. I think you are correct that TCD is the only one that manages to get (I’m working from memory here) into the global top 200. UCD and UCC feature, but somewhere among the also rans in the top 500. But UL, UCG, DCU and NUIM don’t register at all.

And bear in mind, I’m not particularly making a case for UCD. My point is more where we should be looking for a place that has the potential for growth. UCC, if memory serves, is actually more successful than UCD or TCD in attracting private funding for research - I’m not saying that’s the ulitmate accolade, but its certainly a sign of life.

Overall, as I’ve said in my post above, our universities are not particularly highly rated. You may have missed that I said this explicitly. I’m simply identifying the best we’ve got.

Ryanair is a great success, and that is a good thing. But recall one of the problems Aer Lingus had was being forced to run year round services through Shannon.

However, it is bizarre to think in the early days AL would be consulted by the Department of Transport before Ryanair would be allowed to operate a route (I thought the first was actually out of Waterford and not Shannon). I think the message we can take out of it is that the Government shouldn’t try to stop water from flowing downhill.

I’m actually sceptical that two small cities can actually develop synergies as if they were one, which is what brings me back to Cork.

But I think you are also skipping too lightly past the massive incentives already given to Shannon. I promise to stop repeating myself, because if people don’t want to hear the point they won’t. But how much resource do we have to put in for how little return before we admit that we built it and they didn’t come. Despite all the resource invested in Shannon, the Mid West underperforms. I feel that simply fact should be telling us something, if we want to hear it.