Dáil Éireann - Volume 606 - 28 September, 2005
Written Answers - Departmental Investigations.
Mr. F. McGrath Mr. F. McGrath
1147. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the investigation into two educational establishments, particularly regarding allegations of bullying of a person (details supplied), misuse of funds, management of the college, the purchase of apartments and the future management of the college. [24959/05]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: As the Deputy is well aware, the president of Coláiste Mhuire, Marino, resigned from that position in April 2005. The matter relates to the employee-employer relationship between the head of the college and that person’s employers, which, I understand, was subject to legal proceedings. In this regard, it is considered inappropriate for me to make any comment on the matter.
The Deputy will also be aware that I asked the accountancy firm, PwC, to examine the use of moneys paid by my Department to Marino Institute of Education, MIE. The main findings of the report, which I published in early August, revealed that there has been no misuse of the public moneys paid by my Department to MIE.
As I have previously stated on a number of occasions, although my Department did not have any concerns regarding the use of funding provided for the purpose of training teachers, it was, nevertheless, important in view of the level of public and media interest in this matter, to demonstrate clearly that public funding was properly applied for teacher training. I am happy that the findings of the examination confirm this position.
The PwC report did, however, propose a number of improvements to address shortcomings identified in financial management systems and reporting arrangements at MIE. The issues highlighted in the report are being considered by officials in my Department and have been brought to the attention of the management of the institute and other similar colleges of education.
The report found that small surpluses occurred in the institute in question and that these surpluses were either spent on minor capital works at the institute or are represented in current cash balances. My Department has also received assurances from the MIE trustees that these surpluses will continue to be applied for the purposes of teacher training.
The trustees of MIE have also commissioned a report by Farrell Grant Sparks. I am confident that these two reports can be used to develop financial and management practices which will bring greater accountability in regard to moneys paid  by my Department. They will also contribute to the current review by the trustees of the present structure of the institute and facilitate permanent governance and management arrangements which will attract the support and confidence of all concerned.
I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the trustees of MIE have announced that a new interim director and interim president are in place for the coming academic year. In addition, a senior official from my Department has recently joined the governing body of the institute for an interim period. I am sure that the Deputy will agree that these significant developments at the institute demonstrate a clear indication, from all concerned, that they remain fully committed to the future of teacher education at the institute.
My Department’s inspectorate will continue to monitor the quality of the graduates on an ongoing basis to ensure that the highest quality students leave all colleges of this nature. This is a well-established monitoring process and one which has worked very well.
Dáil Éireann 606 Written Answers Departmental Investigations.