Monday 22 July 2019

Subsidiary responsible for €1.2m pension costs - UL

President: Des Fitzgerald says no PCC funding came from the university
President: Des Fitzgerald says no PCC funding came from the university
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The University of Limerick (UL) says a subsidiary company will be responsible for the refund of costs arising from pension benefits worth a total of €1.2m for two of its staff, who were added to UL's State-funded pension scheme even though they were not employed by the university.

They were added two weeks before the scheme closed to new entrants,

The issue, one of a number of controversies in which UL has been embroiled in recent years, was the subject of a hearing at the Public Accounts Committee yesterday .

The hearing arose from concerns raised in reports from the State spending watching, Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy.

One report explored the remuneration of certain senior staff at UL and at IT Sligo, and the other dealt with how Waterford IT managed the development and sale of campus spin-out company FeedHenry. FeedHenry sold for €63.5m, and there has been contention over whether Waterford IT got a fair return on its investment.

Department of Education general secretary Seán O Foghlú said both the department and the Higher Education Authority were conducting a review of the admission of two executives from Plassey Campus Centre (PCC) to the UL pension scheme and the associated costs.

They want "to identify any actions necessary to rectify the position if it is determined that they were incorrectly admitted to the scheme".

UL chief operating officer Gerry O'Brien told the committee that the university had undertaken to ensure the subsidiary would refund the costs, "regardless of how it happened".

University's president Professor Des Fitzgerald said none of the PCC funding came from the university.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education is seeking assurances from Waterford IT that it has a robust procedures in place for the commercialisation of intellectual property arising from issues highlighted around the FeedHenry sale.

Irish Independent

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