Nov 11 2010

How DERI Spends the Taxpayers’ Money

Category: Fourth LevelTeknovis @ 8:25 pm

Earlier this week I wrote about the huge, and unwarranted, costs of certain staff in Top Educational Salaries in Ireland. So today I decided to stay with expenditure in Irish education, and write about something that has really been annoying me for the last two weeks.

Somebody told me about an article describing how a UCG research group called DERI has been spending the tax payers’ money that was given to them by¬†Science Foundation Ireland. The article is very revealing, and it can be read online: Tighter Controls at NUIG Research Institute Following Expenses Controversy.

I will quote some of the more astonishing revelations…

Tighter controls have been implemented at a research institute at NUIGalway after a hundred thousand euro was spent to hire private jets. The private flights were for researchers and academics at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, DERI, at NUIG, in 2004.

The wastage continues…

Other expenses incurred include 154 thousand euro to send dozens of DERI staff to a luxury resort in Crete for conferences.

Shame on you both UCG and DERI for your pathetic self-interest at the cost of everybody else.

So what is the outcome of all of this?

Current DERI Chief Executive, Michael Turley, says policies have been tightened since those expenses were incurred.

What is wrong with this country? Why have those involved in this embezzlement, and those who were supposed to be overseeing it, not being charged with criminal activity? How come they have not been fired? Is it to much to ask that they be forced to pay it back? Even a public apology to the taxpayers whose money was squandered would be a start. Is policy tightening really the best outcome to this? It stinks!

It is sad, because the dishonesty of one group, and the incompetence of its university, will generate a negative impression regarding all of the research groups and universities in Ireland. I certainly would be ashamed to be associated with such a shambolic research group.

I also think that Science Foundation Ireland must share some of the blame here. At the minimum, it should immediately suspend all payments to UCG, until this money is repaid.

I also wonder should the spending of other similar research groups be scrutinised more closely?

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5 Responses to “How DERI Spends the Taxpayers’ Money”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Check the facts, dude!

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/academics-rack-up-euro108000-taxpayer-bill-for-private-jets-2394074.html
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-key-players-2394075.html

    “How come they have not been fired? ”
    They are not working in Ireland anymore.

    “At the minimum, it should immediately suspend all payments to UCG, until this money is repaid.”
    The money has been paid back 4 years ago.

    “I certainly would be ashamed to be associated with such a shambolic research group.”
    If I were you I would be ashamed for not checking the facts and distributing such nonsense as you need.

  2. Eion McNamara says:

    Check the facts, dude!

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/academics-rack-up-euro108000-taxpayer-bill-for-private-jets-2394074.html
    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/the-key-players-2394075.html

    “How come they have not been fired? ”
    They are not working in Ireland anymore.

    “At the minimum, it should immediately suspend all payments to UCG, until this money is repaid.”
    The money has been paid back 4 years ago.

    “I certainly would be ashamed to be associated with such a shambolic research group.”
    If I were you I would be ashamed for not checking the facts before posting.
    Easy to repeat nonsense and make non-valid conclusions, much more effort to really check something, right?

  3. Teknovis says:

    @Eion – thanks for the links. However, the problem is that the individuals were still not held to account. It is a sham…

  4. Eion McNamara says:

    This country has really bigger fish to fry. Bringing people to account costs money.
    How much money do you want to spend on that? To achieve what exactly? Have you reflected?

    The negativity that sweeps the country does not help anybody.
    It is easy to kill something, much harder to build something up. Have you tried to build something?

    Why don’t you focus on what the research is doing? Have you looked into what is happening?
    What the research groups have done for the country, for society?
    These results are easily neglected and the expertise in Ireland easy to kill.
    Especially with posts like yours.

  5. Teknovis says:

    @Eion:

    I would say that the level of corruption in this case certainly warrants bringing people to justice. It saves money, in that it discourages others from behaving similarly. You give the impression that this level of corruption is acceptable.

    Unwarranted negativity is indeed bad – but we also need to be realistic. Otherwise others will do it for us, and that ends up being worse. Yes – I have build many things – some successfully – others not.

    I really have an issue with your last statements such as “What the research groups have done for the country, for society?”. My issue is not with research groups – it is with the activities within one! Please do not suggest they are all like DERI! You will offend a lot of people! The damage done has much wider consequences!