UCC finances on road to recovery

THE country’s second-largest university has started on the road to recovery from a budget deficit which has climbed to €13 million in the past few years.

University College Cork (UCC) has balanced its books for the 2007/2008 academic year according to recently-finalised accounts.

The college’s president Dr Michael Murphy said there might even be a small surplus, which would be the first such good news for UCC since 2002.

“There is still an outstanding current budget deficit of €13 million but we’re on track to eliminate it by 2011,” he said.

“It hasn’t been easy to balance the books but everybody has pulled together on this,” said Dr Murphy, who took over as UCC president in 2007.

Through cuts in travel, allowances and entertainment budgets, and deferral of cuts in central funding, savings of €16m which the president sought in April are now looking achievable.

However, some savings have also involved staff cuts as government funding has not matched rising costs in recent years. Dozens of non-permanent contracts have not been renewed this year and vacancies due to retirements or departing staff may also go unfilled.

Dr Murphy angered the Irish Federation of University Teachers with a letter to all UCC staff in the past week asking them to donate a week’s wages to help save further job losses.

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