UCD earned at least €71,958.85 from the Department of the Taoiseach between 2012 and 2016. The earnings came from training courses provided to staff of the Department for “training and development needs”.
The figures were revealed in a written answer from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to Social Democrats leader Catherine Murphy on November 21st. In his answer Mr. Varadkar justified the cost saying the courses “ensure that staff are equipped with the skills and competencies to both perform their roles efficiently and progress their careers.” The Department of the Taoiseach spent in total €213,361.93 between 1 January 2012 to 20 November 2017.
In it’s 2016 annual report, the Department of the Taoiseach stated it had 190 employees, down from 203 in 2015. The money earned from UCD dropped between 2015 and 2016 from €17,929.94 in 2015 to 11,369.99 in 2016.
Other state Departments have also paid UCD to provide training courses to their staff. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Frances Fitzgerald spent a total of €364,000 in 2016 on courses in a number of areas including UCD, Trinity College Dublin, Griffith College and UCD Smurfit School of Business. Similarly to Mr Varadkar, in her written answer Ms Fitzgerald justified the cost saying “My Department places a high priority on the development of staff to ensure that they are provided with the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the work of the Department. Investing in our staff ensures we further enhance individual and collective capacity, improve organisational performance and enable a high performing and agile workforce.”
Current Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and current Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Pascal Donoghue also had staff trained in UCD amongst other places. In his written answer Mr Flanagan said “The Department invests in a range of courses and programmes designed to address any gaps in knowledge and expertise. Staff also attend conferences and seminars to ensure that they are keeping up to date with recent developments and improvements related to their specific areas such as European policy, IT, and human resources.”
Rachel O’Neill – Editor