College chief’s €20,000 office furnishing bill

WATERFORD Institute of Technology (WIT) has spent more than €20,000 on furniture, fittings and security for the office of its president, located in a new building completed just three years ago.

Professor Kieran Byrne has been in hot water before over his lavish suite of offices, after it was revealed in 2009 that a staggering €157,050 was spent on an office and boardroom, including two individual “kitchenettes” which came in at €6,250 each.

Latest figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 2010 the president’s office was kitted out with more than €14,000 worth of furniture and “security access control” worth almost €4,000.

Other costs during 2009 and 2010 included fixtures and fittings, painting, signage and window treatment.

Prof Byrne was unavailable for comment as he was in Chicago on official college business.

His “suite” is located in the €21m Tourism and Leisure Building at WIT which was completed and opened in 2008.

The office originally cost €47,430 and comprises a bathroom (€7,500), fireplace (€2,000), plasma screen (€500), fitted furniture (€6,000) and loose furniture (€11,350).

Further expenditure exposed in 2009 includes a second kitchenette costing €6,250, flooring (€2,240), wall tiles (€4,260), panelling (€5,800), security and access (€2,000) and furniture (€2,500).

Meanwhile, the boardroom, which is also part of the new Tourism and Leisure Education Building, came in at €86,570.

This has an audio visual system (€10,000), a kitchenette (€6,250), fitted furniture, fittings and curtains (€24,000), loose furniture (€30,240), flooring (€4,480) and panelling (€11,600).

A separate FoI request also revealed the college paid €6,000 for two chairs which are used for graduation ceremonies which only take place once a year.

Prof Byrne was first appointed to WIT in May 2001. He also held the position of director for many years.

It is understood his current contract is coming to an end. The position has been advertised but it is not known if he is seeking reappointment.


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