Higher Education Authority boss wrote of “disturbing picture” of internal workings and governance at University of Limerick

The chief executive of the Higher Education Authority said there was a “disturbing picture” of the internal workings and governance at the University of Limerick (UL).

In a forthright letter to the most senior official at the Department of Further and Higher Education, the HEA said “very serious and broad issues” had come to light about the university.

The HEA CEO Dr Alan Wall said that based on legal advice they could not carry out their own investigation but said a full governance review of UL should take place.

The concerns were raised following the controversial €8 million acquisition of the former Dunnes Stores in Limerick in 2019, despite being valued at €3 million by Limerick’s local authority just two years earlier.

The HEA had originally withheld these records and they were only released following an internal review by Right to Know.

Responding to them, a spokeswoman for UL said: “University of Limerick is continuing to engage with the Higher Education Authority, providing assurances that are being sought on governance.

“The HEA is satisfied with the assurances it has received on governance and processes at UL. University of Limerick is committed to strong governance and a continued review and enhancement of its policies, procedures, and practices.”