President of the University of Limerick, Prof Don Barry yesterday dismissed claims that two staff members had been offered ‘hush money’ to withdraw complaints about improper financial practices at the college.
Prof Barry stated the allegations in a Limerick Leader report were untrue.
He urged that an investigation being conducted by the Higher Education Authority should be expedited to protect the reputation of the college.
The newspaper claimed after two unnamed members of UL staff raised concerns related to financial matters, they were offered €60,000 to leave their jobs.
Claims of threats against the pair by another staff member were investigated independently and found to be malicious. The HEA were asked to investigate the claims of financial irregularities. The two staff members have been suspended on full pay.
Prof Barry said: “These allegations are false. They have the potential to damage the reputation of the university. The reputation of the university is very important to everybody who works and studies in the institution and indeed for everybody living in the mid-west region.
“So I would urge the HEA to move rapidly to investigate these allegations and we will fully cooperate with that to see a speedy conclusion to this issue.
“The reputation of the institution is something held very dear by the people who work and study here and anything that happens to raise any question marks over that reputation is something I take very seriously. Once again I would urge the HEA to proceed as quickly as possible.”
Prof Barry made his comments to reporters at the launch of UL’s strategic plan for 2015 to 2019, titled ‘Broadening Horizons’.
The plan has a target of having 30% of the student body by 2019 dedicated to postgraduate or doctoral studies; a 60% increase in international full-degree students and a 12% increase in US study-abroad students.
Prof Barry said UL was anxious to press ahead with a city centre campus in the Opera Centre site.
Launching the plan, Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan said UL is already making a significant global contribution to research and development. “I have no doubt that the ambitious goals laid out in this new strategy will be achieved,” she said.
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