Three employees at Limerick Institute of Technology are earning up to €72,000 a year, with no work to do.
The issue has been raised at a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee this morning.
The staff were surplus to requirements after Limerick IT merged with a rural business college in Co Tipperary, but have not been laid off.
The State auditor, Seamus McCarthy, told Independent TD for Dublin South Shane Ross that the staff, who earn a combined total of €216,000 a year, do not have any official work to do.
He said: "Well, they have an approved level of staffing and these 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."
Mr McCarthy said that he was not certain how many staff members are involved but said he thinks it is "three or possibly four".
"So they’re getting €70,000 a year for doing nothing?" Deputy Ross asked.
The committee heard that the amalgamation took place on September 1, 2011, and that €627,000 had been paid to these staff members since then.
“So they’ve had no job since 2011 at €72,000 a year and no one has done anything about it?” Patrick O’Donovan, Fine Gael TD for Limerick asked,
“That’s absolutely crackers, isn’t it? I mean, it’s just bananas,” Mr Ross said.
Joe Costello, Dublin Central Labour TD asked if the staff members involved should not have been given a redundancy package.
“I think it’s relatively unusual,” Mr McCarthy said.
“It does happen where organisations are amalgamated that people become surplus to requirements and generally then what happens is they would be transferred to other organisations that can use their skills,” he said, adding that he cannot reveal the age or details of the people involved.
“If these guys are 22 or 23 they could be doing nothing for 40 years on €70,000 a year,” Mr Ross said.
LIT is the fourth largest Institute of Technology in Ireland, and has over 6,000 students and 500 staff.
Additional reporting by the Irish Examiner's Joe Leogue