Belfast Telegraph

UCD gives Noam Chomsky top honour ahead of Dublin lecture

Veteran US political activist and intellectual Noam Chomsky has received another accolade.

Professor Chomsky, who came to prominence in the 1950s as a pioneering figure in linguistics, was awarded the Ulysses medal -- the highest honour University College Dublin can bestow.

The medal, awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution, was presented by UCD president Dr Hugh Brady at a ceremony in the university where he addressed an audience of over 1,000 students yesterday.

Ahead of a major lecture in Dublin today, Professor Chomsky warned that the European Union's response to the economic crisis has left European democracy in a worse condition than that of the United States.

Professor Chomsky said: "I’m not a great admirer of the Federal Reserve, but I think they’ve been much more constructive and thoughtful and progressive than the European Central Bank has been.

"I mean, take Ireland. It was a crisis of the banks. It wasn’t the Government; it wasn’t the population. It’s fundamentally bank corruption.

"It’s the same in Spain. Spain had close to a balanced budget in 2007 and pretty good economic fundamentals. But the housing bubble, fuelled by Spanish and indeed German banks, you know they were the lenders, went way out and caused a great crisis for which the public is now paying."

Professor Chomsky is delivering the inaugural Frontline Defenders' Annual Lecture tonight at the RDS, which is being held in partnership with UCD School of Philosophy and TCD.

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