The regard in which Irish universities are held internationally is falling, in the wake of funding cuts brought about by the recession, Colin Layde writes.

The regard in which Irish universities are held internationally is falling, in the wake of funding cuts brought about by the recession.

Irish graduates are less sought after than they were previously, according to the latest global university rankings.

The QS University Rankings warns of the potential for a reduction in the standard of teaching, as cuts in staff, allied to increased numbers of students, continue unabated.

Government cuts have seen staff levels at Irish colleges fall by 1,500 between 2008 and 2011, while the recession has also seen record numbers of individuals applying for college places.

The QS World University Rankings, covering the top 700 institutions, are based on the views of academics and employers worldwide.

All seven Irish universities appear in the top 700, alongside the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).

Despite falling to 67, Trinity remains the highest ranked university in the country and the only to appear in the top 100.

University College Dublin (UCD) is next at 131, followed by University College Cork (UCC) down to 134, NUI Galway up to 287 and Dublin City University (DCU), which remains unchanged at 324.

DIT and the University of Limerick appear in the 451-500 bracket, with NUI Maynooth in the 501-550 section.

The results will be cause for concern for already underfunded universities, with further cuts expected in the forthcoming budget.

 Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn, has so far resisted reintroducing fees as an alternative to cuts. The Minister did increase the registration fee by €250, a rise of 10%, reneging on a pre-election commitment in the process.