Garvey offers to ‘clean up the mess damaging’ IT Tralee

Ex-chairman of Institute of Technology Tralee Flan Garvey has offered to “go back and clean up the mess that is damaging” it.

He was at the centre of controversy after a finding of plagiarism against him in a 2008 research thesis was overturned on appeal. His expenses of over €125,000 between 2005 and 2011 also raised concerns, prompting Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to order a review of governors’ expenses at all 14 institutes of technology.

Records released by the Department of Education under the Freedom of Information Act include a letter in Irish by Mr Garvey to the department at the end of September containing the offer to return to the college in some capacity. He confirmed in it that he had stepped down from the chairman’s role as of July 31.

“However, if the minister wishes I am willing to return and clean up the mess that is damaging the institute,” says a translation provided by an official to one of Mr Quinn’s advisers.

In May, Mr Garvey, a former Fianna Fáil councillor, told the college governing body he would quit the role he was due to be in until 2016. He was re-appointed by then education minister Mary Coughlan eight days before FF handed over power in Mar 2011.

The report of a panel of external reviewers appointed by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) to examine how postgraduate research degrees are validated at ITT was published on Wednesday.

As reported yesterday, the review highlights shortcomings in the monitoring and assessment of postgraduate research students.

QQI has not yet received confirmation from ITT that a list of corrections has been inserted in the official copy of Mr Garvey’s thesis. The step was recommended in May by the appeal committee that rejected an earlier investigation finding that his master’s award was unjustified, saying plagiarism rules were not made clear to students.

The college has acted on findings in relation to poor academic referencing standards; updated procedures; and policy on plagiarism; and is setting up new research ethics and postgraduate committees to evaluate students’ proposals and their progress.

A handbook is being compiled with all regulations and policies specific to postgraduate research students, to replace one which the panel said used the word “research” just three times.


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