Students at NUI Maynooth have presented a petition to university management objecting to the appointment of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to an honorary position in the university.

The organisers of the petition say over 1,200 Maynooth students signed it.

They say the petition is separate to last week's letter of protest against the appointment, which was signed by 36 members of academic staff.

In a press release the organisers of the petition say the decision to award Bertie Ahern such a title at this time is disgraceful.

The statement says the economic policies enacted by Mr Ahern during his time as Taoiseach directly precipitated the current economic crisis.

It says history will view Mr Ahern in the same light as other Fianna Fáil figures such as Ray Burke and Charles Haughey.

Mr Ahern has been appointed as Honorary Adjunct Professor to NUI Maynooth's School of Business and Law.

In a statement this afternoon the NUI said the unpaid appointment was approved by both the University's Professorial Board and Academic Council, which contains over 60 senior academics of the University.

The statement added: 'It is entirely appropriate for NUI Maynooth to acknowledge the former Taoiseach's mediation skills and benefit from his unique experience in the context of the work he did, in particular on the Nice Treaty and in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.'