A FORMER mayor of Clare has defended payments and expenses of €18,000 he received from a third-level institution, stating it was his entitlement as chairman of the colleges governing body.
Flan Garvey also said he was looking forward to returning as chairman at the Institute of Technology Tralee, a position he stepped down from while investigations were carried out into claims that parts of his Masters Degree, awarded by the college in 2008, were plagiarised.
An external investigation panel has since found that plagiarism occurred in chapters 1 and 5 of the thesis, but this happened unintentionally.
According to the panel’s report seen by The Clare People, “Mr Garvey’s MA degree was attainted in an unjustified manner but was not attained in a fraudulent manner.”
Mr Garvey said the findings bring to an end six months of stress and worry.
A note will now appear on his thesis informing readers of the findings.
The former Fianna Fáil councillor said he looks forward to returning to chairman of the college, where just this year students awarded him with an “outstanding contribution to student life” award.
“The vast majority of the staff would be supportive of me and welcome my return,” he said.
The Clare People has since learnt however that some members of staff do not believe the Inagh man should return to the role. At an emergency IT Tralee TUI Branch meeting on Thursday night, academic staff representatives voted that it was inappropriate and not in the best interests of the Institute for Mr Garvey to continue as the chairman of its governing body given the finding of plagiarism in his MA thesis by an external panel of academics and in light of the findings that he was not aware of Institute regulations.
Mr Garvey has also been defending expense payments from the institute of technology.
During a seven-year period the former county councillor received a total of €125,743.91, an average of €18,000 a year between 2005 ad 2011.
The next highest payment, which includes interview board expenses and audit committees, were paid to fellow Clare Fianna Fáil councillor Peter Considine who received €24,813.56 during the same period, which is an average of just over €3,500 each year.
Other members of the board collected payments ranging from .84 cent to a high of €5,958 per year. The majority of the annual payments to members was less than €2,000 per year.
Cllr Garvey attributed his expenses to his proximity to the college.
“I do live in County Clare which is 98 miles from Tralee. Other people’s expenses may not be as high as mine as they would not be there as long,” he said.
“The Minister (for Education) can look into my account and the ITT expenses. I never got a penny more than I’m entitled to.”
Meanwhile Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) yesterday (Monday) said it would undertake a statutory review of ITT’s validation processes for postgraduate research degrees as a result of receiving the report into Mr Garvey’s 2008 thesis last week.

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