Cork Institute of Technology is being asked why two retirement parties for former president Brendan Murphy cost €13,000 of taxpayers money and how Murphy himself signed off on half of the budget.
The Higher Education Authority is also seeking “a full explanation” from CIT after a letter to the Dáil's Public Accounts Commitee from CIT’s acting president Barry O’Connor showed that Mr Murphy approved the June event that cost just over €11,000.
Speaking to Seán Ó Foghlú about the incident Fianna Fáil TD Marc McSharry suggested that there should be protocols in place when funding retirement parties:
Would it not be important... that when you’re giving out this money it would be reasonable to say: ‘Look, by all means, buy a glass of wine but maybe not dish out 13 grand of the taxpayers’ money to acknowledge the greatness of somebody’s contribution.
Mr Ó Foghlú said it would not be usual for departments or agencies to have retirement parties for staff although he said it is appropriate when a senior leader is retiring after a long time in the job:
However, there would be a recognition that when a senior leader of an organisation is retiring after a number of years... I would think it’s something that’s appropriate to be celebrated.
One of the most extravagant aspects of the banquet held in Murphy's honour was an ice sculpture of a dolphin.
Here is a list of the expenses that Murphy signed off on:
- Catering that cost €4,892
- Musical entertainment costs of €700
- The €1,840 cost of a separate retirement dinner attended by 46 senior staff
It's nice to go out with a bang.
H/T: Irish Examiner