Tuesday 24 October 2017

College boss in plagiarism row to retire early

Flan Garvey’s decision to retire as chairman has been accepted
Flan Garvey’s decision to retire as chairman has been accepted

Barry Duggan and Ralph Riegel

A COLLEGE chairman who was cleared of plagiarising his master's thesis has confirmed he is to retire from the post in July.

The Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) said that it had accepted Flan Garvey's decision and had informed Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

Mr Garvey informed the ITT governing body of his decision to retire as chairman from July 31 at a meeting last Monday.

His term had been scheduled to last until February 2016.

In a brief statement, ITT paid tribute to the long-serving chairman who had also been at the centre of controversies over the scale of his expenses.

"The (ITT) governing body accepted Mr Garvey's decision and in doing so acknowledged his significant contribution to the institute during his term as chairman since 2001," the college said. "ITT will be making no further comment on this matter."

Mr Garvey, a former Fianna Fail councillor, was awarded a master's degree in 2008 but this award was investigated amid allegations of plagiarism.

Mr Garvey was cleared of any wrongdoing.

He insisted there was nothing unusual in a college chairman being a student. "It is unique. I was used by the college and I used myself to promote lifelong learning," Mr Garvey said.

He also hit the headlines when it emerged that he received €125,000 in college expenses from 2005 to 2011.

Mr Garvey, who lives in Clare and commuted over 160km to Tralee to attend ITT events, previously insisted the expenses were justified.

"I don't deny for a second what my expenses have been ... (it) boils down to €18,000 a year," he said. "Is that huge money? They don't say too much about the fellas in the banks who get €840,000 a year.

"That (claim) entails costs of my car, my petrol, my diesel. It entails costs of me paying for lunches or maybe overnights."

However, Mr Quinn confirmed earlier this month that he had ordered a probe into the level of expenses claims at various Institutes of Technology.

"I am concerned. We are in straitened times. Everything is under scrutiny," Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent.

CONTROVERSIES

A number of controversies have erupted following revelations about spending and expenses at Irish institutes.

Former WIT President Kieran Byrne, was found to have, on one occasion, allowed the chartering of a plane at a cost of €4,200 to fly a visiting WIT guest to Waterford.

Between 2004 and 2011, WIT's spending included €290,000 on hospitality, €18,400 on flowers, €263,000 on travel expenses and €134,000 on fine art.

Irish Independent

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