THREE employees at Limerick Institute of Technology who were allegedly earning up to €72,000 a year “with no work to do” have recently been redeployed, the institution has said, after the issue was raised at a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee this Thursday morning.
It was heard that the staff were surplus to requirements after Limerick IT merged with a college in county Tipperary, but have not been laid off.
The State auditor, Seamus McCarthy, told deputy Shane Ross that the staff, who earn a combined total of €216,000 a year, did not have any official work to do.
He said: “Well, they have an approved level of staffing and these are above that level of staffing, but I think in this case they actually have no work. They are obviously doing something, but they have no formal assignment in the institute.”
Fine Gael TD Patrick O’Donovan, the only Limerick politician on the PAC, probed further, asking: “So people have had no jobs since 2011 at €72,000 a year and no one has done anything about it?”
Deputy Ross added: “That’s absolutely crackers isn’t it? I mean it’s just bananas.”
“It does happen where organisations are amalgamated that people become surplus to requirements,” McCarthy stated.
In a statement to the Limerick Leader, a spokesperson for LIT explained: “Arising from the integration of Tipperary Institute into LIT, a five year integration process, supported by the Department of Education and Skills and the Higher Education Authority, for redeployment staff, was immediately undertaken and is completed as of this academic year, 12 months ahead of schedule.
“This process also required upskilling and retraining and all staff transferred are making a valuable contribution to the wider LIT offering as we continue to grow our student numbers at our campuses in Limerick, Thurles and Clonmel.”
The department or departments that the staff had been working in and have now been deployed to have not been identified in case it could identify the staff members involved.
- More to follow in Monday’s print edition of the Limerick Leader