Academics consider legal action over ‘threats’ to withdraw university funding

Ireland“The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) said it is considering taking legal action against the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and Departments of Education and Finance over a recruitment freeze ordered last week. In a letter to Ireland’s top universities, the HEA demanded that all recruitment in the third-level sector be halted, and said non-compliance would result in withdrawal of funding from the colleges. ‘The allocation of exchequer funding will be conditional on adherence to the terms of this framework,’ the letter said. ‘Failure to comply with the framework or with the reporting arrangements set out above will be considered to be a breach of the framework …’” (more)

[Jennifer Bray, Sunday Tribune, 12 July]

Blogmeister’s comment: Certainly at first glance the HEA threat seems to contravene Universities Act, 1997, s. 50(2). Questions which those involved will be asking themselves include: (i) How quickly, in principle, could this legal point be authoritatively resolved?, (ii) If it were resolved against the government, how quickly and easily could they procure amending legislation?, (iii) How will the threat affect current negotiations between universities and the HEA over which additional posts are allowed? and (last but not least) (iv) Is this attempt to control university appointments simply a panic measure in the depths of a recession, or is it meant to become a new, permanent state of affairs?

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One Response to “Academics consider legal action over ‘threats’ to withdraw university funding”

  1. The Irish Economy » Blog Archive » The Universities: Innovation, Autonomy, Fees and Institutional Design Says:

    […] Act 1997. My learned friend  Steve Hedley offers his interpretation of the legal provisions here. There is discussion in the Sunday Tribune of the Irish Federation of University Teachers […]

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