Businessman Dermot Desmond's idea to establish a global university for culture and the arts in Ireland is utterly brilliant and totally obvious. Ireland's contribution to the knowledge economy cannot be in maths or sciences where frankly we do not have the expertise of other nations. From WB Yeats to George Bernard Shaw, from Seamus Heaney to John Banville, from Anne Enright and Roddy Doyle to Colum McCann, we have a global reputation for literature. We have shown our excellence in film, theatre and music. Forget about developing expertise over the decade, this is a reputation we already deservedly hold.

Bono, U2, Enya, Van Morrison, the Corrs, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell, Neil Jordan, Sebastian Barry, Brian Friel and a list of luminaries have all been invited to participate in the project, as have businessmen Denis O'Brien, Gary McGann and Craig Barrett. The marriage of these skills and talent is an exciting prospect.

Desmond believes that the unique Irish spirit is undefeatable and this initiative can create a new chapter for Ireland. Imagine if we could offer a centre for learning to attract the students of the world under the guidance of our brightest and best. If Desmond can pull this off he might even find a use for the struggling tourism sector by turning vacant hotels into arts universities.