Saturday 3 December 2016

UCC ordered to end top-up pay to staff

Published 14/05/2015 | 02:30

Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary General of the Department of Education
Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary General of the Department of Education

University College Cork (UCC) has been ordered to "cease with immediate effect" unsanctioned top-ups to staff members which it had not disclosed.

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It is understood that some of these undisclosed payments go back several years and some are more recent.

The Irish Independent has learned that the total amount paid over the years in unsanctioned allowances is €1.9m and involves up to 60 members of staff.

The college had last year told the Department of Education that all unsanctioned payments to staff members had ceased.

However, the department has now written to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) informing it that "additional unauthorised payments which were not previously notified" have emerged.

This followed an "analysis" by the department of information given to it by UCC management. It is understood that payments to 60 staff members totalling €1.9m are now being investigated by the department.

The matter is to be discussed by PAC today.

Secretary General of the Department of Education, Sean O Foghlu, said he has ordered UCC President Michael Murphy to end the payments immediately. "I have directed the president to cease with immediate effect all remaining additional payments and to confirm to me by May 15 that this has been done," the letter seen by the Irish Independent states.

"We are investigating the matter further and I will write to the committee again when we have established all of the facts relating to the additional payments," the letter added.

Despite queries being lodged with UCC yesterday, no response to the Irish Independent on the matter was forthcoming.

Mr O Foghlu said as a result of UCC's failure to disclose the payments, information given by him to the committee was "regrettably incomplete and the outstanding data have been sought from the University".

The information came to light after the department called on 62 education bodies under its control to confirm that they were in compliance with public pay policy.

As part of that process, it emerged that UCC had one unsanctioned payment, which was due to cease last June.

Irish Independent

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