From UCD's website (see here)Even a cursorary glance at this should raise the odd eye-brow. I thought UCD's constitution forbade the teaching of theology (and that of the NUI colleges only Maynooth was allowed), but perhaps I was misinformed. But anyway, to the issue at hand:The Governing Authority of UCD has discussed a proposal to make a significant investment in comparative theology and world religions, as part of a partnership with the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy. UCD is now exploring how this proposal might be best realised.
“Theology is an important academic discipline and is well established in the best international universities” said Dr Hugh Brady, President of UCD. “UCD would be delighted to contribute to the development of an Irish world-class capacity in comparative theology and world religions.”
With several humanity departments being shut down in UCD and many others being drained white for resources it seems doubtful that they would take in theology unless they genuinely wanted to make it a world class department- President Brady seems to dismiss everything unless it is "world class" or "internationally recognised" or one of the other various synonyms available. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin argued several months ago that the study of theology needed to be upgraded in Ireland, and I doubt UCD's announcement is unconnected to this fact. This has obviously been in the pipeline for a while now.
Official Church-state dialogue, Christian radio channels, the Pope's suggested belief that the Irish Church is emerging from "a valley period," and now this: is religion (or at least Roman Catholicism) making a march back to greater relevance in Ireland?