Transparency in financial affairs of third level institutes key to achieving accountability in spending of public funds

July 11, 2017

Social Democrats member of the Public Accounts Committee, Catherine Murphy TD, has today welcomed the publication of the committee’s report into the third level education sector and urged swift implementation of its recommendations.

Speaking as the report was launched today, Deputy Murphy said:

“The lack of transparency in relation to the finances of third level institutions is not acceptable. The higher education sector received more than €1.5 billion in public money each year in 2014 and 2015.

“There have to be real consequences for institutions which are less than upfront about how they spend public funds. One of the key recommendations of the Committee’s report is that the Higher Education Authority would implement penalties in relation to funding for institutions which fail to present accounts for certification by the C&AG within six months of the end of the financial year.

“It was noticeable that while the committee was holding its hearings into this sector, RTÉ Investigates discovered some third level facilities were wasting public money and failing to protect public money. Many universities have separate trusts or foundations, which hold millions of euro in assets, but which the universities do not declare as part of their financial accounts. It is vital for accountability purposes that we see full disclosure in relation to the financial statements of foundations and trusts. The HEA in particular needs to play a more proactive role in ensuring value for money and safeguarding public funds.”


11 July 2017