The chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has agreed to probe further the expenditure of €436,000 by Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) on a plagiarism investigation.
Fianna Fáil TD, John McGuinness said it was “incredible” in terms of “governance and money” how some €460,000 was spent by GMIT on an investigation of one incident of plagiarism at the Dublin Road college. Deputy McGuinness said it warranted further investigation by PAC and he agreed to return to the matter at another sitting.
The issue was raised at PAC by Galway East TD, Paul Connaughton Junior, alumni of the college.
The Fine Gael Deputy said the correspondence received by the PAC from the Higher Education Authority about the expenditure by GMIT “raised more questions than it answers”.
He requested the PAC would return to look at the matter again and tease out the issues.
According to correspondence presented to PAC, it cost €1,500 per day for the two investigators, said Deputy Connaughton. “I doubt Sherlock Holmes would have cost that much,” he said.
Speaking at the PAC Dáil committee, he added: “There is no conclusion in sight and the review could continue like a runaway train. The last point was that there was an argument between the investigators that required further legal action between the two of them before the report could be published. That was also an extra cost on the taxpayer.”
He said the report received by members of the PAC raises many questions about the expenditure of money by GMIT. He said that officials from the Department of Education, Higher Education Authority and GMIT would have to come in and “explain it again and to give some detail”.
Deputy Connaughton said: “How did they come up with the €1,500? Why there was no interim report? Why was there no deadline? At the very end (of the report) it states that the college’s procedures for dealing with plagiarism were fit for purpose. It cost us €436,000 to find that out. So many more questions need to be asked about this.”
The chairman of the PAC agreed and promised that the committee would return to the issue of governance and expenditure of money at GMIT in relation to the plagiarism investigation. PAC members hope to return to the GMIT issue before the summer recess.
GMIT President Michael Carmody, who has now retired, and Financial Controller, Jim Fennell, have both previously conceded the investigation has damaged the institute’s reputation.
The incident of plagiarism under investigation relates to a masters student at the School of Business in 2009. It was asked to establish the facts around the allegation that a lecturer facilitated a student, her partner, to cheat in an assignment.
The external investigation was also charged with exposing whether the cheating incident was “suppressed, concealed or covered up” by staff.
The external investigation was launched following revelations highlighted in this newspaper about the incident of plagiarism; and after several internal investigations failed to get to the bottom of the issue.
Mr Carmody has confirmed disciplinary action was taken against staff on foot of the report into the incident, which GMIT has refused to publish the report despite initially indicating that it would be published.
Prior to his retirement, Mr Carmody confirmed the college was dealing with another ‘historical’ case and told the Galway City Tribune that they could never be fully confident that there weren’t more plagiarism ‘skeletons’ in the college’s closet.
Street fight thugs from viral video outside Garda HQ avoid jail
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two men and a woman who were involved in a ‘staged’ fistfight outside the new Garda HQ in Renmore were warned they will serve prison sentences if they don’t stay off social media for two years.
Suspended sentences were imposed on all three over the incident which was recorded on mobile phone and footage went viral on social media.
The altercation between John Maughan (27), formerly of Rinville Park, Oranmore, who now lives in Dublin, and Patrick Maughan (31), of 122 Laurel Park, Newcastle, was filmed on Patrick Maughan’s phone by his wife, Ellen Maughan (31), who is John Maughan’s sister.
The footage was uploaded that evening to YouTube, where it gained a lot of traction.
Galway District Court heard this week the trio were sitting in their cars when Gardaí arrived at the scene within a matter of minutes.
They were subsequently charged with affray at Dublin Road, Murrough, Renmore, on November 2, 2018, in that all three used or threatened to use violence towards each other, thereby putting other people present in fear for their own safety and the safety of others.
Both men were also charged with breaching the peace.
Garda Pat Casey told the sentence hearing the incident occurred at 2.30pm on the main road between GMIT and the Garda HQ.
He said the men’s cars met, whether by accident or design, at that location where they got out and had a fist fight in the middle of the road.
Judge Mary Fahy asked if the location chosen for the fight, right outside the new Garda HQ, was deliberate.
Garda Casey said the men claimed they met by accident, “but that was where they met”, he added.
“The inference is they did it deliberately outside the Station to make it even better on social media. They are an absolute disgrace to do that in public and to do it in front of their children,” Judge Fahy said.
This is a shortened preview version of this court report. To read the article in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Cycle plans for Galway City get bumpy ride from councillors
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A €24 million plan to transform the greater urban area into a cycle friendly zone got a bumpy ride when introduced to city councillors at a meeting this week.
Councillors were presented with four consultants’ report outlining a framework for the narrowing of many city roads to facilitate cycle lanes and better pedestrian access.
However, several councillors hit out at the way the cycling proposals which were presented to them just hours before their scheduled meeting.
Former Mayor of Galway, Cllr Frank Fahey (FG) said that it just wasn’t good enough to have to consider such detailed proposals on city transport issues after only being emailed the details that morning shortly after 11am.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind), said that there was no joined-up thinking as regards the proposals and he asked if the residents of the east side of the city were consulted about what was being proposed.
“There is a real issue here with communication and consultation. We have businesses in Salthill that are down €25 million in terms of their business turnover and yet there was no consultation with them. It’s absolutely crazy going forward with no consultation,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Independent Knocknacarra councillor, Donal Lyons said that he had only received these detailed consultants’ reports just four hours before the meeting – he also wanted to know why Salthill was being treated differently to other areas.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the proposals, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Four-storey apartment block planned at Renmore cottage site
Planning permission has been sought to construct a four-storey apartment block and three two-storey homes on a 0.8-acre site off the Renmore Road.
K King Construction Ltd is proposing to demolish the existing cottage at 78 Renmore Road to create access to the site, which backs onto Nolan Park.
The plans include 19 residential units in all, consisting of three detached four-bed houses to the south of the site, adjacent to Dún na Mara; 10 two-bed apartments and six one-bed apartments, to be accessed by a new vehicular entrance road where the cottage currently stands.
According to the planning application, the development would provide “a positive net gain of new residential units on an under-utilised infill plot” on lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the City Development Plan.
Some 22 car parking spaces are to be provided on-site – two for each detached house and one space per apartment unit; in addition, 34 covered bicycle parking spaces are provided for.
Each apartment will have a balcony while a children’s playground is proposed for an area south of the apartment block.
The materials and finish of the buildings are to be similar to those used in the adjacent Dún na Mara development that was completed in recent years by the same developer.
The development would include provision for new pedestrian access for residents to Nolan Park/Renmore Playing Fields by utilising “previously inaccessible” recreation and amenity lands.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.