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Lecturer caught working full-time for two colleges

A lecturer has resigned from two colleges after it was discovered he had been working "full-time" for both colleges for the past eight years.

Fergal O'Malley was a lecturer in electronic engineering in both the National University of Ireland, Galway and 90km away in the Athlone Institute of Technology.

Between the two jobs he was earning about €170,000 a year as well as building up separate pension entitlements.

Now urgent inquiries are under way to find out how Mr O'Malley, who was unavailable for comment last night, managed to hold down two full-time jobs at the same time.

It is understood that his teaching hours were much greater in Athlone than in Galway where he was also heavily involved in research.

In Athlone, he would have been expected to teach up to 16 hours per week and spend the rest of the working week on preparation, marking and administrative duties.

In Galway, his teaching commitment was much lower and is understood to have been in single figures. However, he was also engaged in a number of research projects.

He had worked in Galway since 1995 on a contract basis and took up a full-time position in the electronic engineering department of in 1998.

He served as dead of department on two occasions in Galway during that time.

Investigation

Mr O'Malley has presented research at several international conferences and was very active in developing new research links/activity with the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering (NCBES) and the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI), both at NUIG.

A spokesperson for NUIG said yesterday afternoon the university had been made aware of "teaching irregularities" in relation to Mr O'Malley on Thursday, November 29, and immediately launched an internal investigation and moved to suspend him.

"The individual in question tendered his resignation on Tuesday, December 4, as his position became untenable," stated the university stated

"The university has accepted this resignation," it added.

It contacted the Athlone Institute on November 29 which approached Mr O'Malley about the matter -- he resigned the following day.

A spokesperson for AIT said the institute has informed the Department of Education and Science of the matter with regard to Mr O'Malley and that AIT has also agreed terms of reference with an external consultant to conduct an inquiry into the situation.

Controversy

The Teachers' Union of Ireland would not comment specifically on the case last night. But its incoming general secretary Peter MacMenamin said the union was of the view that a full-time teaching post meant a full-time commitment by staff.

Fergal O'Malley graduated with a first-class honours BE degree in electronic engineering in 1994. His research interests are in the general area of digital signal processing and include speech processing and applications of electronics to biomedical engineering problems.

He has also supervised three MEngSc students to completion and was supervising two PhD students until his resignation.

This is the second controversy involving a lecturer in the Athlone Institute this year.

In July, disgraced childcare lecturer Dr Niall McElwee resigned his post at the college after it emerged that he had a conviction for sexual offence dating from 2005.