Double-jobbing lecturer must pick one pension

A DOUBLE-JOBBING college lecturer has been blocked from claiming two pensions after concern was raised over lax governance standards in the third-level system.

Engineering lecturer Fergal O’Malley managed to work at the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) while holding down another lecturing position in NUI Galway.

He double-jobbed for eight years until both colleges found out in late 2007 and forced him to resign.

The enterprising tutor managed to rake in €170,000 a year by collecting the two salaries.

The Irish Examiner has learnt the academic has now been told in writing he has been banned from claiming pensions from both colleges and must pick one.

The academic, now in his 40s, had been lecturing 16 hours a week in the IT and another six to seven hours a week in the university.

During his time at both colleges, Mr O’Malley paid into two pension schemes.

TDs raised concern about the situation in a Public Accounts Meeting (PAC) last year. Advice given by Department of Education secretary general Brigid McManus indicates the academic will get one pension because of college rules.

“A letter was sent by AIT and NUIG to the lecturer in question on 9 December 2009 in relation to his deferred benefits in each pension scheme, explaining the prohibition on dual reckoning of service and requesting him to elect as to which service he wishes to reckon.

“The simultaneous service in the other institution will be discounted and he will be entitled to a contributions refund for those years.”

President of Athlone Institute of Technology Ciaran O Catháin originally had told TDs that the college had received legal advice suggesting Mr O’Malley was entitled to the pension. But Mr O’Malley must now either decide to go for the AIT pension of a lump sum of €28,744.40 and an annual amount of €6,802.74 or the NUI Galway payment, where he would get a lump sum worth €19,690 and an annual amount of €3,968.

Mr O’Malley was forced to resign his post in November 2007 after a post-graduate student at NUI Galway, annoyed at having to cover the lecturer’s class while he travelled 90km to Athlone IT, blew the whistle.


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