This book explores the access and participation issues present within Higher Education in Ireland. It examines policy, pedagogy and practices in relation to widening participation and documents the progress and challenges encountered in furthering the 'access agenda' over the past two decades. Access has become an integral part of how Higher Education understands itself and how it explains the value of what it does for society as a whole. Improving access to education strengthens social cohesion, lessens inequality, guarantees the future vitality of tertiary institutions and ensures economic competitiveness and flexibility in the era of the "Knowledge Based Economy". Offering a coherent, critical account of recent developments in Irish Higher Education and the implications for Irish society as a whole, this book is essential for those involved both in researching the field and in Higher Education itself.