Education Minister Ruairi Quinn asked the Higher Education Authority to conduct the review after it emerged that Flan Garvey received over €125,000 in expenses from Institute of Technology Tralee between 2005 and 2011. He has chaired its governing body since 2001 but announced this week he will quit the role in July, although his term was not due to end until Feb 2016.
The HEA finalised the terms of the review with Department of Education officials in the past week.
It will specifically look at the expenses of governing bodies of institutes of technology (IoTs) for the academic years 2009/10, 2010/11, and 2011/12. Because of the narrow scope of the exercise, it is expected the HEA can collect and analyse the figures in time for a report to be given to Mr Quinn by the autumn.
Earlier this month, Mr Quinn said he was concerned about figures that emerged at IT Tralee, which were a factor in requesting the review.
“We’re in straitened times,” he said. “Everything is under scrutiny. It has to be under scrutiny. There’s no area of expenditure that can be left to be as it was.”
Mr Garvey has said he was entitled to any expenses he received, as he lives 157km from ITT. The €18,000 average annual amount he was paid compared to €4,000 for the next-highest paid governing body member. The majority received less than €1,000 a year.
ITT and Cork Institute of Technology have made a submission to the department on plans for a formal merger application to form a Munster Technological University.
Mr Quinn briefed the Cabinet on Tuesday on plans to reform the structure of the third-level sector, including proposals for other IoTs to join forces and form technological universities in the south-east (Waterford and Carlow) and in Dublin. The final plan, including how the changes will be implemented and funded, are set to be announced by the HEA today but the overall structures are likely to be in line with those outlined earlier this year.