EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has ordered Trinity College to stop paying an "unauthorised" allowance worth up to €3,000 each to its lecturers.
The tutors' allowance has been given to lecturers who provide confidential personal support to students who are having problems with exams and finances. But Trinity never got the required permission from Mr Quinn's department to pay the allowance and has now been told to halt it in the summer.
The payment of up to €3,000 was being made to 117 Trinity lecturers. It had been in place since the 1970s, but the college was required under 1997 legislation to get permission to keep paying it.
However, neither Trinity nor the individual lecturers will have to repay the department.
Mr Quinn has confirmed that Trinity did not have permission to pay the tutors' allowance to its lecturers.
"The university has been directed to permanently cease the payment of the unauthorised allowance with effect from July 2013," he said.
There are 107 lecturers in Trinity who are being paid €3,070 per year to act as tutors to groups of 90-100 students each.
And there are another 29 lecturers getting a half-rate tutor's allowance of €1,535 for each looking after 45-50 students.
Mr Quinn was responding to a parliamentary question from Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain.
The Department of Education discovered the existence of the tutors' allowance last year after asking all colleges for a full list of payments as part of the Government's review of public sector allowances.
It has told Trinity College that there is no reason why it cannot continue to provide the tutors' service to students without the extra payment.
Trinity has confirmed it will continue to do this. It said that tutors deal with the college on behalf of students, helping them with course transfers, medical and money problems.
"Tutors can provide pastoral care and guidance and ensure that the student is able to make the best decision, given their personal circumstances," a spokeswoman said.