Former GMIT President claims he was lobbied by Fine Gael Ministers

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Former president of GMIT – Dr. Fergal Barry – has claimed he was lobbied by former Fine Gael Ministers Mary Mitchell O’ Connor and Michael Ring over a job at the college.

According to the Sunday Times, he’s written to the Department of Further and Higher Education outlining the alleged canvassing by both Ministers on behalf of a candidate.

Dr. Fergal Barry resigned from GMIT in May 2019 after an extended period of leave, following long-running disputes over alleged ‘governance’ issues.

According to the Sunday Times, he claims he did so on principle, following political interference in public appointments.

It’s alleged he was contacted several times in early 2018 by then Minister Mary Mitchell O’ Connor – who said she had received a great deal of communication from then Minister Michael Ring about a post at GMIT.

Dr. Barry described this contact as inappropriate and allegedly had to refuse requests from Minister O’ Connor to meet with Minister Ring in relation to the position.

He subsequently made GMIT aware of the alleged lobbying, and disclosed a complete record to the Department of Education and Skills, as well as to the Higher Education Authority.

However, he contends he left GMIT, before his term of office expired, because he was unhappy with how his complaints were handled, as well as other governance issues.

According to the Sunday Times, the Department of Further and Higher Education contends that all issues raised by Dr. Barry in relation to alleged shortfalls in governance and oversight at GMIT were fully assessed – and responded to satisfactorily.

However, it says the issue of canvassing was not included in the original set of issues communicated by him.

It’s added they have contacted him in relation to these matters, seeking further information to allow a separate examination.