Government outlines independent review of UL

University of Limerick’s governance, HR and financial practices to be investigated

The University of Limerick campus. The Department of Education has announced details of a review into the governance, HR and financial practices at UL.

The University of Limerick campus. The Department of Education has announced details of a review into the governance, HR and financial practices at UL.

 

An independent inquiry into misconduct allegations at University of Limerick will focus on governance, human resources and financial practices at the college.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton announced details of the review’s terms of reference on Friday evening.

The review will be headed by Richard Thorn, former president of Sligo Institute of Technology.

The inquiry follows a number of protected disclosures and other complaints made by employees and former employees of the university.

The allegations broadly relate to the treatment of staff or former employees who raised concerns over irregular expenses claims and made complaints over bullying or human resources practices.

The inquiry will also focus on severance payments worth a total of €350,000 to two individuals who no longer work for the university.

It is expected that the review will be completed by the end of September.

Minister’s statement

In a statement, Mr Bruton said the Department of Education had agreed to conduct an independent review of governance at the university at the request of UL.

He also confirmed that he had met with some of the whistleblowers at the centre of the allegations, to hear their cases.

“My department and I, along with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), have now agreed on this course of action to conduct an independent review to address the issues raised and ensure that robust policies for the future are in place,” he said.

Mr Bruton said the HEA will support Mr Thorn with general administration, analysis of material and gathering of relevant data as required.

The terms of reference state that Mr Thorn will receive details of the allegations from the disclosers and any other persons who feel that there are matters of concern or of public interest relating to UL that need to be addressed.

The terms say that Mr Thorn will be tasked with presenting a final report, including any findings or recommendations, to all parties.

All parties will be asked to collaborate fully with the review and respond promptly and in full to requests from the reviewer for information, documents and other records.

In a statement, UL said it welcomed the announcement, saying it had sought the independent review “so that it can ensure the public confidence of its many stakeholders is secured through what must be a sufficiently robust and expeditious process”.