No PAC interest in spending, says CIT

Cork Institute of Technology has not been contacted by the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee in relation to allegations of reckless spending reported in a Sunday newspaper.

No  PAC interest in spending, says CIT

A spokesperson for the college said there had been “no contact either formally or informally” from PAC amid reports the committee has received correspondence that CIT spend excessive sums on consultants and on commissioning portraits at a time of austerity.

Among the allegations made to PAC, according to the newspaper were:

*The spending of €22,000 on portraits of president Dr Brendan Murphy and then governing body chairperson Paddy Caffrey in 2009;

*The spending of €21m on external consultancy fees between 2008 and 2012.

The report also said the college had been involved in a number of employment dispute cases and that it was the subject of a probe by the Data Protection Commissioner on foot of a data breach that led to applicants for a course later receiving personal details and the marks of 136 other applicants as well as their own ranking.

The CIT spokeswoman said the portraits were commissioned in 2007, prior to any cutbacks at the college. The portraits were painted in Dublin during weekend sittings by Mick O’Dea and the sittings took place “at no cost” to CIT she said.

The spokeswoman said she was not in a position to access the archives until today to provide a figure for the cost of the paintings.

In relation to the consultants’ fees, the spokeswoman said the figure of €21m was inflated, and in relation to the employment disputes she said “that would be par for the course in an organisation the size of CIT”.

The data breach was the subject of internal review and was not under investigation by the Data Protection Commissioner, she said.

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