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Minister orders probe into colleges' expenses claims

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn has ordered a probe into the level of expenses claims at institutes of technology.

The revelation came after successive controversies over the past three years into the scale of expenses being claimed at some institutes and, in cases, what the claims were lodged for.

"In fact, I am concerned. We are in straitened times. Everything is under scrutiny. It has to be under scrutiny," Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent.

"There is no area of expenditure that can be left to be as it was. Therefore I will be asking the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to look at expenses regimes in all the institutes of technology," he said. A number of controversies have erupted following revelations about spending and expenses at Irish institutes.

Mr Quinn's probe was ordered as he added that Cabinet would shortly be deciding on a plan to create a series of Irish technology universities.

"I'll be bringing (that issue) to Cabinet fairly soon, the report of the HEA and its recommendations plus my own in the next stage in the reconfiguration of the higher level institutes," he said.

"Three combinations have applied ... Cork and Tralee are one; Blanchardstown, Tallaght and DIT are two, and Waterford and Carlow and associated colleges are the third."

Irish Independent