Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien has called for an investigation into the payment of millions of euro in unauthorised allowances to senior academics.
The Cork North Central TD was responding to the publication today of figures which reveal that between 2005 and 2011, €7.5 million in allowances were paid to 223 senior academics.
Describing the figure as an “outrageous use of public funds,” Deputy O’Brien said that an investigation should be carried out into the allocation of these allowances.
“It is simply obscene that during a time of massive cuts across the education sector, many highly paid academics were enjoying lavish allowances on top of their six figure salaries.
“The Department of Education and Skills’ figures reveal that high pay levels are a feature of the third-level sector. Last year, more than 1,200 employees earned over €100,000, while more than 200 earned over €150,000.
“It is quite staggering that an academic medical consultant in Trinity College, who was on an annual salary of over €200,000, received a top-up of €430,000. Others who received lavish payments included the president of NUI Galway, Dr Iggy O Muircheartaigh, who received €202,978, and the former acting president of the University of Limerick, John O'Connor, pocketed €247,905, an allowance he received after stepping down from the post.
“At a time when students are being hit with contribution fees and the threatened reintroduction of third level fees, it is scandalous that millions were given in unauthorised payments.
“I welcome the new law announced by the education minister to prevent universities making these payments. He also needs to examine why €7.5 million was spent on allowances to senior academics combined with their huge salaries.”