No more action over UL severance pay for ex-staff

No further action is being taken in relation to University of Limerick’s use of severance packages for former staff.

The decision by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) follows receipt of a second report into matters at UL concerned with finances, governance, and HR practices.

The HEA asked for a more focused review by ex-president of Institute of Technology Sligo, Richard Thorn, of the rehire and consultancy arrangements for certain members of staff who received severance packages from the university.

Among the €1.7m in severance payments detailed in Mr Thorn’s initial report last November were those made to two former staff worth over €220,000 each in 2012.

Both men were subsequently rehired and continued to work on a consultancy basis for UL for three years.

“On the basis of Dr Thorn’s findings, the HEA is satisfied that no further action is required apart from the ongoing requirement for UL to fully implement the recommendations made by Dr Thorn’s first report and other UL internal audit reports,” the HEA said.

However, the authority has decided not to publish the report and its findings as a number of people discussed in it are involved in High Court proceedings against UL, making matters relating to them sub judice.

Parts of Dr Thorn’s report were redacted when it was published due to these or other legal proceedings.

The two aforementioned severance payments were made without the approval of the Department of Education, whose clearance should have been sought and obtained by UL first.

The department only became aware that the two recipients were rehired when details emerged at the Dáil Public Accounts Committee last March.

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