Authorities Claim Four 3rd Level Colleges 'Misled' Them Around Spending Of Taxpayers' Money

Authorities Claim Four 3rd Level Colleges 'Misled' Them Around Spending Of Taxpayers' Money

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Sean Fleming, has said that the comittee was 'misled' by representatives of four third level instutions - namely UCC, DIT, UL and NUIG - about the running of their financial affairs.

Fleming was speaking on Morning Ireland, in the wake of last night's RTÉ Investigates: Universities Unchallenged, which highlighted how taxpayers' money was being wasted by certain universities and colleges.

At the University of Limerick, most notably, the programme found problems with 'procurement, ethics and blatant evidence of the Department being misled.' In particular, issues related to two severance packages which were paid out to two senior members of staff.

RTÉ Investigates discovered that one senior member, received almost twice the severance payment of €120,000 that he should have gotten, while another, who should have received €165,000, was given almost one third more. After leaving the college and setting up consultancy companies, both men were hired back by UL for three years worth of work.

Neither of the men's contracts had gone through the proper procurement and were kept quiet from the Department.

Some of the other findings the investigators found in relation to UL included:


Fleming told Morning Ireland, 'The level of arrogance that was displayed by some of the heads of the colleges at the Public Accounts Committee, I think came through on the programme last night.'

He added:

We weren't given the full picture in practically any case of any of the four colleges that were shown last night. We got some information, limited information, and I would describe the performance of most of the heads of those third level institutions as showing a lack of candour. They didn't show full openess and truthness at those meetings.

Aside from UL, the show revealed that NUIG awarded a construction project for McNamara Construction five months before it went into receivership. Eight years and three tender awards later, the buildings were delivered at an extra cost to the taxpayer of €20m.

Mark Farrelly

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