PAC Meeting | June 11, 2015
Department of Education called and examined
Deputy John Deasy: While Mr. Ó Foghlú is here, I want to ask him about the report on Cork Institute of Technology and Waterford Institute of Technology and the issues surrounding potential amalgamation.
I spoke to Mr. Kelly, as have others, and my understanding is that the report was to have been finalised in late April. There were issues about two governing bodies being changed and the change in the position of president of WIT. Can Mr. Ó Foghlú tell me where we are at with the report? When will it be published?
Mr. Seán Ó Foghlú [Secretary General, DoE]: My understanding is that Mr. Kelly is finalising the report, but still has to conclude another set of meetings the week after next with one of the institutions. In discussions with us, he judged it was best to take his time to complete the report given the turnover of the chairperson and president at WIT.
He will come to us with the report, we hope, within a couple of weeks. The publication of the report is obviously a matter for the Minister to consider and decide. We hope it will be in the public domain in the near future.
Deputy John Deasy: I asked Mr. Kelly if he would come to the committee and answer questions when his report is finally published. Can Mr. Ó Foghlú come to the committee with him if or when he attends?
Seán Ó Foghlú: I am back here again in four weeks and am happy to answer questions on that day. I have already had discussions with the secretariat about answering on that day. Mr. Kelly is not available in July and August as he will be on leave, but I am certainly happy to answer questions. Of course, if Deputy Deasy wishes, I understand Mr. Kelly has indicated a willingness to talk to him.
Deputy John Deasy: As such, we are not looking at any time before the end of August.
Seán Ó Foghlú: I would not have thought so with Mr. Kelly. However, I am back here in four weeks and I understand institutes of technology issues will be among those covered. We will be happy to discuss any issues then.
Deputy John Deasy: Does Mr. Ó Foghlú expect this to be finalised and dealt with by then? In fairness, we are hanging around here dealing with this for a long time. I accept Mr. Kelly's point.
I spoke to him about the issues surrounding the changes in the governing bodies and presidential offices. That makes sense as it makes sense to delay and prolong the report. This has gone on for a very long time, however. Can we get this dealt with within that four-week period?
Seán Ó Foghlú: I hope so. I have discussed it with the Minister and it is her intention to try to do that. Whether she manages will depend on the fact she must see what is in the report and come to an opinion. She may want to consult her colleagues in government in advance of publication. That is her call, not mine.