Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
University of Limerick Financial Report 2020

9:30 am

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

I am satisfied that it has the substantial characteristics of a severance. In my view, sanction from the Department should have been sought in that regard. It is clearly a legal issue. The only way to finally thrash it out would be through a legal case. There is not one in this situation. The problem clearly stemmed from the comprehensiveness or lack of comprehensiveness of the original contract of employment. We have looked at other universities and seen the kinds of scenarios like termination and notice period included in the contract of employment. It is clearly good practice, and I expect to see the University of Limerick doing that in future. There is a learning there.

As to the value of the settlement or agreement, that is something on which I have not previously commented. In every situation, the circumstances determine what is a reasonable amount. I am not seeking to try to second-guess that; I am concerned with the process and ensuring things are done properly, and that those who are required to consider the matter are actually given the opportunity to do that.