CONCERNS have been expressed that not enough University of Limerick staff and former employees were made aware of the external investigation being conducted into allegations surrounding its finances.
UL failed to issue any communication en masse with its staff about the details of the review, which is still progressing, despite queries from the media and calls by local politicians for UL to do so.
The interim report, as a result of investigations by Mazars independent consultants, was due to be made available today. However, the Limerick Leader understands that the review will require more time and further staff and ex-staff will have to be interviewed.
Some former staff have also sought the personal assurances from UL president Don Barry that they would be at liberty to give their evidence with impunity, which was received.
Other staff, who remain fearful and are cautious about coming forward, said they are also seeking written assurances from Arthur Cox, UL’s solicitors, that no legal action will be taken against them.
A UL staff member who did not wish to be named told the Limerick Leader: “A lot of people in UL do not know that this review is taking place or that there is an open call to participate. There is concern that UL itself has done nothing to encourage people who may wish to assist the review to come forward.”
Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea, who called for the external review in the Dail, alongside his party colleague Niall Collins, said he is looking forward to receiving the report.
“In the interest of fairness and transparency, UL should reassure all their staff and ex-staff in a public and open manner that they are quite free to come forward. In terms of the report, we will be reserving our position. If we’re not happy that the matter has been dealt with thoroughly, it will be pursued further,” deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Leader.
The investigation arose following allegations regarding inappropriate payments made to some senior UL staff, which were first published in the Limerick Leader and subsequently in The Sunday Times. UL has since sued the Leader and its editor, Alan English.
For those who still wish to come forward, the details are confidential@ mazars.ie, 01-449 4463, or write to Corné Mouton (Partner), Harcourt Centre, Block 3, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2.