Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe, has described the “shenanigans” and lack of governance in third level institutions recently highlighted on RTÉ’s Prime Time Investigates programme as “deeply disturbing.”
RTE’s investigations unit worked for several months on uncovering how taxpayers’ money is spent in a number of third level institutions.
Last Thursday’s programme, titled Universities Unchallenged, revealed how millions of euro are wasted every year by Ireland’s universities and colleges.
The University of Limerick featured heavily in the programme after it was discovered that there were problems with procurement, ethics and blatant evidence of the Department of Education being misled.
Speaking of the revelations, Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“The questions and shenanigans raised by the Prime Time Investigates programme are deeply disturbing and a cause for concern.
“Third level staff, pupils, and the Irish Tax payer deserve and expect better governance from these institutions.
“It is clear that the accountability structures and the relationship between the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department in terms of oversight over the sector need to be urgently examined in the light of revelations on this programme.
“All institutions must be subject to full scrutiny in terms of the use of public funds but clearly this would appear to be lacking.”
Deputy Crowe said that if there is clear evidence of public money being wasted then higher education institutions must be thoroughly scrutinised.
“In light of the ongoing debate in relation to the funding of higher education, it is particularly important that we have a full and accurate picture of the financial circumstances of each institution in order to make more informed decisions
“We clearly need to ensure that there is more robust oversight and accountability following this programme.
“At a time when many students and staff are pinned to their collar trying to make ends meet, it is deeply disturbing that a minority can flagrantly misuse public funds in the manner outlined in this programme.
“The makers of this Prime Time Investigates programme are to be commended. It is now over to the Department of Education and HEA to act swiftly in ending this latest scandal and misappropriation of public funding.”