Protest at UL to highlight suspension of finance staff

DEPUTY O'DEA:  'STAFF ARE VERY FRUSTRATED'

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

Protest at UL to highlight suspension of finance staff

Ex-UL: Leona O’Callaghan

A NUMBER of former University of Limerick employees, concerned staff and others will be mounting a peaceful protest at the UL gates this Wednesday morning to highlight the suspension of two staff members more than a year ago.

Set to carry placards bearing messages such as ‘Limerick 2020 Vision - sadly not found in UL’, the protest aims to highlight ongoing governance, lack of transparency and employment issues at UL, as staff who have spoken out over perceived wrongs do not feel their voices have been heard.

A number of those protesting will be bearing masks to protect their identities, as some who are current employees are fearful of any legal repercussions from the university, and others say they have signed confidentiality clauses in terms of their own difficulties.

Leona O’Callaghan, one of three whistleblowers, who has been trying to highlight issues regarding expenses in the university since 2012, is among those who will be taking another stand. She was one of three female whistleblowers in the finance department who led to the publication of the Mazars’ review – commissioned by the Higher Education Authority – into processes and procedures employed at UL, which found numerous shortcomings.

“We’re going ahead with it, as we feel we are still being pushed from pillar to post months on from the publication of the Mazars’ review. It was something we were all hoping to avoid. Instead of continuing to talk about the apparent lack of inaction, despite assurances that UL and the HEA are in talks, we felt we have to take action.”

Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea, who has been made aware of the employees’ issues on an ongoing basis, said he won’t be in a position to attend due to Dail debates this Wednesday on social welfare issues.

“It is very, very regrettable that these employees, and former employees, have been forced to resort to a protest, even a peaceful on, to demonstrate their ongoing frustrations,” he told the Limerick Chronicle.

 The HEA has yet to comment on the progress of its ongoing consultations with UL following the Mazars report.

The protest will take place from 8am to 1pm. All are welcome to attend.