The University of Limerick (UL) spent almost €4,000 on bed linen for its now outgoing president’s multi-million house, the Irish Daily Mail has revealed. This news comes just months after Dr Fitzgerald, a University College Dublin (UCD) medical graduate, announced his intention resign from his position as President of the university due to Covid-19.

Following a FOI (Freedom of Information) request from the Irish Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act, figures show that over the last 3 years a total of €193,419.30 has been spent on refurbishing, upgrading, and maintaining the UL President’s house.

Broken down, the figures reveal that more than €28,000 was spent on new steps for the pathway, more than €14,000 was spent on dining tables and dining and lounge chairs, and nearly was spent €20,000 on building maintenance. It has also shown that patio furniture set the university back €10,000. Additionally, a number of other large payments were made for general cleaning, entertainment, Christmas finger food and the performances of Christmas carols. 

Last year, the cost of renovating Ardmore House, which houses the office of UCD President Professor, Andrew Deeks, came to a total of €7,500,000. This also included the offices of his staff and the UCD Foundation. 

Recently UCD’s spending has come under further scrutiny. In an article published last month by The College Tribune it was revealed that the college had spent €828,196 on hotels between November 2016 and March 2020. Another article by The College Tribune revealed that UCD had disbursed almost €15 million on off-campus residential properties. UCD also made headlines in 2018 when it was revealed that the university spent almost €1million on business class and premium fare flights, officially spending more on flights than any other Irish university. 

Discussing the controversy surrounding UL, Local Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea has said the spend “seems excessive”. The Irish Daily Mail also revealed that UL pulled out of purchasing a Georgian property worth over €5million in Ranelagh, after the deposit had been paid, after UL Chancellor Mary Harney advised against it amid a time when universities are struggling financially.

Casey Conway – Reporter