Maynooth University increased its annual payment to governing authority chairwoman Nuala O’Loan by 70% to €20,500 last year.

The payment is the maximum allowed in accordance with ministerially-approved rates under the 1997 Universities Act.

The former Northern Ireland police ombudsman, Ms O’Loan was appointed to a second term in the role in November 2015, having previously been paid €12,000 annually for the post she held since 2010.

The figures emerge in the latest annual financial statement of Maynooth University, showing accounts for the year to the end of last September.

Ms O’Loan attended all six of the governing authority meetings which she was eligible to attend during the year in question.

The university increased its public relations and marketing spending by 20% to €901,000 for the year.

The accounts said last year’s increases were in line with increased activity in campaigns to attract more international and graduate students.

A further €406,000 paid for PR and marketing consultancy fees, up 23% in a year, brought total spending in this area to €1.3m, or €226,000 more than in 2016/2017.

Fee income received in relation to non-EU students, who are not covered by the Government’s free tuition scheme, rose by €500,000 or 14% to €4.2m.

At €64.6m last year, student fees rose by €4.2m or 7% during the year. They remain the single largest source of income, accounting for 43% of the university’s receipts, whether paid directly by students themselves or by the State through the Higher Education Authority (HEA) under the ‘free fees’ initiative.

The €3m rise to €39.8m in fees paid directly to the university for students outside the free tuition scheme was more than double the €1.2m rise in ‘free fees’ income.

The figures also include €11.6m received through student grants body Student Universal Support Ireland (Susi) in part or full payment of the €3,000 undergraduate contribution on behalf of low-income students.

While Maynooth University’s income from research grants and projects rose by €2.1m (9%) during 2016/2017, the increase masks slight falls in related income from the EU and industry of €400,000.

However, with an 9% increase in State agency support for research to €8.9m and other developments, the university hopes to see a further improvement in research income in the next two to three years.

“The university’s citations remain strong and the university has signalled its commitment to research by the establishment of four research institutes and the appointment of senior researchers to lead those institutes,” said Maynooth University bursar Mike O’Malley’s report.

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