Probe into 'cash mountain' in colleges

The Dáil's spending watchdog is to investigate an "anomalous" €160 million (US$178 million) cash mountain in Irish universities which is growing by €30 million a year, write Daniel McConnell and Katherine Donnelly for the Irish Independent.

The substantial cash reserves have arisen since 2009 when pension schemes in five universities were transferred into the central state fund. However, the Higher Education Authority, or HEA, has continued to pay €30 million a year into the universities as if their schemes were still operating, and members of parliament are now demanding answers as to what is going on.

The universities at the centre of the new investigation by the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee are: University College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth and Trinity College Dublin. The HEA has denied the payments amount to a "bail out" of the schemes which were hugely in deficit, insisting it is simply ensuring that retired employees receive their legal entitlements agreed with their employers at the time.
Full report on the Irish Independent site