University of Limerick in pay-off scandal

Two UL employees claim the college attempted to buy their silence

Two employees claim they were offered nearly €60,000 to resign from their jobs at the University of Limerick, after they raised concerns about inappropriate money spending and mismanagement.

The employees raised these concerns in October 2013 and described the two years that followed as “torture”. They said that the final straw was on a night in December 2014, when they claim they were physically threatened by a UL colleague.

Following this incident, they made complaints to the gardai and a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. No charges have yet been brought forward.

The pair say they had previously queried a number of payments which were being put through the books. Items such as alcohol were “camouflaged” and partners of UL staff were allowed to accompany them if they travelled abroad. All of which cost the taxpayer.

Originally the employees of eight years claimed they were offered €20,000, and when they declined this, were offered €60,000 to drop their accusations, end their contracts and walk away.

This offer was also declined resulting in the two being suspended indefinitely with pay.

The settlement payments would have required the employees to sign a confidentiality clause. This meant they could never speak of the complaints or ever challenge the university under a number of different acts.

The employees said they felt a moral obligation to speak about their concerns with some questionable practices that were happening in the university and the treatment they were subject to in the public eye.

“We understand that situations like these continue to happen, even though we thought it would never happen to us, but we believe employees in the university are afraid to speak out. This culture still exists, but we feel we have every right to say this is what happened to us and this is how it made us feel.”

The university has yet to comment on the situation.

Jennifer Purdy

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