It is surprisingly difficult to get a consistent picture of university income in Ireland over the last decade. Accounting conventions have changed, as have the requirements from the Higher Education Authority in terms of detail. Finally, despite it being half way through 2017 it seems some, many, universities have not managed to get their 2016 or even 2015 accounts up and out.
Nonetheless, looking at the two biggest, TCD and UCD, we get a picture which is replicated in others (although I have not provided full details here). It is one of massive decline in the state funding.
State funding comes in three main blocks – a recurrant block grant, the “free fees” initiative and competitive research grants offered by the likes of SFI, the HRB and so on. Other funding is non state – EU grants, postgraduate fees, charitable and donated income etc.
So, while by all means universities should take cognizance of the state in their governance, perhaps if the state wants more power over them it should remember that, at least in the case of the two leading universities in the state, it is no longer even close to being in the driving seat, funding wise.