Top academic accused of plagiarism in MA project

The chairman of the Institute of Technology Tralee, Flan Garvey, has been accused of plagiarism in his research project for a master’s degree.

The former mayor of Clare received his master of arts degree in 2008 from ITT, where the ex-Fianna Fáil councillor has been chairman since 2001.

However, 26 staff have written to college registrar Michael Hall, alleging his dissertation on the history of his parish of Inagh contains large sections of text identical to earlier publications.

They claim Mr Garvey either did not cite those sources, or cited them in a way that suggested he was the author. In the letter, seen by the Irish Examiner, they claim most of three chapters in his dissertation — A Study of the Salocht of a parish in County Clare — are “verbatim copies of uncited or misleadingly cited works”.

Mr Garvey did not respond yesterday to several calls and messages. A number of questions were also emailed to ITT yesterday but a spokesperson said the college had no comment on the issues raised.

The details of the plagiarism claim were sent to the registrar on Nov 8. In an accompanying letter, the academics made reference to 51 pages of Mr Garvey’s dissertation, which they say contain text that is identical to parts of three books or papers published between 1942 and 1965. It is claimed two of them are not cited in the dissertation.

The ITT staff want the matter dealt with outside normal procedures for managing alleged infringements of student rules, given Mr Garvey’s role. The registrar was asked to refer the matter to Quality and Qualifications Ireland, and it is understood the college is liaising with the standards and assurances body.

It was reported in 2008 that Mr Garvey claimed €2,800 in fees paid for a master’s degree on expenses from Clare County Council. He did not stand in the 2009 local elections.


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