Wednesday 13 November 2019

Former education mandarin hooks up with schools-builder Sammon

Roisin Burke

EX-DEPARTMENT of Education head John Dennehy now works on multimillion euro education projects here and abroad.

It's familiar territory -- during his time as education department boss, the State spent €2bn on school build funding.

Former Secretary General of the Department of Education Dennehy is now a director at Sammon Group, which has €20m worth of school build public private partnership business in Ireland.

During the boom, Sammon specialised in government-commissioned 'rapid build' programmes in areas where development couldn't keep up with school needs. It has contracts worth €120m to build and run schools in the United Arab Emirates.

Dennehy is also a director at International Development Ireland (IDI) where Dick Spring and former Enterprise Ireland boss Dan Flinter are directors. He is head of educational services there since 2006, having retired from the civil service in 2005.

While heading up the Department of Education, Dennehy was closely involved in the negotiations with religious orders on abuse compensation. The deal capped the orders' liability at a puny €128m, leaving taxpayers on the hook for around €1.2bn.

At IDI, Dennehy advises on the setting up of schools and universities for clients around the world and on general education matters. He also acts as a "special adviser" on education reform in the Gulf region. IDI is owned by ex bankers Ted Bowe and Ronan Deignan.

Dennehy joined Sammon in 2010. It is mainly owned by an offshore company registered in the Virgin Islands, CEO Miceal Sammon and his wife Cathy are directors along with ex-Arnotts and Arytza executive Peter Madden.

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