Monday 16 September 2019

Universities square up for High Court battle over 'poached professor'

Kath Browne moved to UCD
Kath Browne moved to UCD

Ray Managh

A university is suing another institution it accuses of "poaching" a professor.

The National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM) has brought proceedings in the High Court against University College Dublin (UCD) over Professor Kath Browne's move to UCD.

Prof Browne, the court heard, is a professor of Geographies of Sexualities and Genders.

She joined NUIM following an open competition in 2017.

NUIM claims that last May Prof Browne was approached by UCD and advised to apply for a position with the Dublin college.

She tendered her resignation from NUIM in June 2019 and is expected to take up her new role as a full professor at UCD in September.

The move has resulted in NUIM bringing High Court judicial review proceedings against UCD, which in correspondence has argued the claim is not judicially reviewable.

NUIM, which is represented by Declan McGrath SC, claims it is not trying to prevent Prof Browne from taking up the position at UCD.

But it is seeking various declarations from the court aimed at stopping what it alleges are unlawful practices. NUIM claims Prof Browne was recruited under UCD's Central Pool Academic Appointments Programme.

It says the programme is used to attract academics who hold academic research grants and are employed by other universities.

In reply to a question from Mr Justice Senan Allen, counsel agreed that his client was claiming its staff member had been "poached" by UCD.

It also claims the mode of the programme under which Prof Browne was recruited involves inviting applicants to send their CV to the relevant head of school in UCD.

Permission for NUIM to bring the action was granted on an ex-parte basis by Mr Justice Allen.

He made the matter returnable to a date in October.

Irish Independent

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