WIT asked for report on spending by funding agency

WATERFORD Institute of Technology has been asked to give an immediate report to the state’s third level funding agency on spending on its president’s office.

The college’s governing body last week announced it has asked accounting firm Deloitte to carry out a review of spending highlighted by freedom of information requests, which is believed to relate to spending on WIT president Professor Kieran Byrne’s office.

The Irish Examiner revealed last month that almost €21,000 was spent last year on the offices, more than €14,000 of it on furniture and nearly €4,000 on security access control. The office was fitted out to the tune of almost €50,000 as part of a €21 million tourism and leisure building completed in 2008, including more than €17,000 on loose and fitted furniture.

However, it is understood that other costs associated with the president’s office are also under the spotlight.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has now asked the governing body to report on expenses and spending relating to the president’s office.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said last night that he is aware of recent steps taken by WIT’s governing body to commission an external review of spending at the college. “He understands that this is to be considered at a planned meeting of the institute’s governing body,” a statement from the department said.

“The HEA has sought an immediate report on the issues that have given rise to the decision to commission an external review and has asked for an interim report from WIT on any issues arising from the external review,” it said.

Although third level institutions are autonomous, the HEA retains an interest in ensuring that all money it allocates to colleges is spent appropriately. HEA chief executive Tom Boland has spoken with WIT chairman Donie Ormonde in recent days on the issue and the matter is expected to be discussed by the governing body today.

A spokesperson for WIT said last night that no comment was available on the latest developments.


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