A Limerick college has responded to claims that a number of its staff were on €72,000-a-year salaries with no work to do by saying those staff have been redeployed into new positions in recent months.
The Public Accounts committee today heard that three or four staff were “surplus to requirements” after Limerick IT merged with a rural business college in Co Tipperary in 2011, but were not laid off. Instead, they were kept on the payroll on annual salaries of €72,000 even though they had “no work to do”.
A target of five years was set to redeploy affected staff within the new, merged institution. That period was due to elapse in September 2016, but all staff have now been redeployed, 12 months ahead of schedule.
The State auditor, Seamus McCarthy, today told Independent TD for Dublin South Shane Ross that the staff, who earn a combined total of €216,000 a year, did not have any official work to do.
He said: "Well, they (LIT) have an approved level of staffing and these (staff) are above that level of staffing, but I think in this case they actually have no work. They are obviously doing something, but they have no formal assignment in the institute."
Deputy Ross described the situation as “crackers”.
However, a spokesperson for LIT said the information discussed today was at least a year out of date, saying it referred to the college’s accounts for 2013 and 2014, and that the situation had since changed.
He said: “Arising from the integration of Tipperary Institute into LIT, a five-year integration process for redeployment of staff was immediately undertaken and is completed as of the start of the current academic year, 12 months ahead of schedule.
“The staff specifically referred to today have been redeployed.
“This process also required upskilling and retraining...All staff transferred are making a valuable contribution to the wider LIT offering as we continue to grow our student numbers at our campuses in Limerick, Thurles and Clonmel.”