THE chairman of the Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) who has been accused by 26 staff of plagiarising sections of a thesis says he is confident "the truth will emerge".
Flan Garvey, a former Fianna Fail councillor, was at his home outside Inagh, Co Clare, yesterday after some ITT lecturers alleged that the chair of their governing body cheated on his thesis to get a master's degree from their institute.
The Irish Independent can reveal Mr Garvey had hoped to enroll and study as a PhD student at ITT – four years after he was awarded his master of arts.
He had even informed staff and students in Tralee that he would be studying there. Last night, the Education Department said Minister Ruairi Quinn was aware of the allegations from the 26 staff in Tralee. "It is important that such matters are investigated in accordance with established procedures and due process," a spokeswoman said.
Speaking from his home in Clare yesterday, Mr Garvey said: "I'm very happy that the truth will come out."
Mr Garvey said he would not be making any further comment until his solicitors "advised him to do so", but added that there were 500 staff at the Tralee institute. The institute's website informs prospective students that there are 250 academic staff on campus. It is not yet established which area Mr Garvey wished to study as a PhD student.
Addressing a graduation ceremony last October when he spoke in front of hundreds of graduates and academics, Mr Garvey said: "We salute the college for all it has done for you and for me.
"And believe it or not, I am back as a student and I'm coming back to you now at a time when lifelong learning is the buzz phrase nowadays." Looking down where graduates were sitting, he added: "And please God, in three years I will be over there instead of up here."
ITT is not accredited to award PhDs, so it is understood that Mr Garvey must apply to the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority Ireland (QQI) to be allowed study for a PhD in Tralee.
It is understood he must initially inform the QQI of the name of his proposed supervisor and what he proposes to study for the PhD. The QQI said it would not be appropriate to comment on an "individual case involving a student or graduate of an Irish higher education institution".