Trinity College, Dublin

Read more: The myth of Ireland's high ranking education system smashed

In 2005 the US ambassador James C Kenny told the then Finance Minister Brian Cowen that Ireland's eduction policies were not providing US firms with enough quality graduates.

The details of the private meeting between Cowen and ambassador Kenny were published in documents released by WikiLeaks. In the leaked cable Kenny suggested Ireland should have a US-style scheme in the form of tax-free endowments.

The former ambassador tied the supply of quality graduates to limits on educational funding, which he believed resulted from the Irish government's decision not to impose university tuition fees.

Kenny said funding for Irish higher education could be obtained with US-style university endowments, without threat of imposing tuition fees.

Cowen suggested the government would give the suggestion due consideration,  but it would be necessary to ensure that funds destined for the government coffers would not simply be diverted to the endowments.

Read more: The myth of Ireland's high ranking education system smashed