Around the world in 365 days: Cork Institute of Technology spends €1.3 million on travel for staff members 

Around the world in 365 days: Cork Institute of Technology spends €1.3 million on travel for staff members 

CORK Institute of Technology (CIT) spent more than €1.3 million on travel for staff members in a single year, The Echo can reveal.

The institute spent more than €700,000 on 4,300 trips across Ireland - with Dublin the most popular destination - along with almost €600,000 on foreign travel across 577 trips last year

Information provided by the institute shows that staff travelled to places like Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, the US, Tel Aviv and more.

Around 1,170 staff managed to rack up almost 5,000 trips between them - a total of 13,838 days in just one year.

This all added up to a cost of €1,304,855.04.

Thirteen members of CIT staff spent more than €10,000 on trips throughout the year, including one who spent more than €18,000.

These 13 staff members accounted for 12% of the total €1.3m spend.

Another 46 members of staff spent between €5,000 and €10,000 accounting for a quarter of the total spend while 249 spent between €1,000 and €5,000.

More than 860 staff members spent less than €1,000 and these 860 accounted for just 23% of the €1.3m spent in 2018.

While staff members were not named in the information provided, it is possible to see where individuals travelled to in 2018 and how much each trip cost.

An aerial view of CIT
An aerial view of CIT

One staff member in CIT managed to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Dubai, Muscat, Brussels (twice), France (three times), Germany (twice), Amsterdam and spend around €4,500 on travelling to Irish cities, all in the space of one year - a total of 51 days over 35 different trips.

The trips to Dubai and Muscat cost more than €4,000 each, as did an accumulation of trips to cities across Ireland.

Another staff member managed to rack up costs of €13,000 travelling to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur but most of the cost - around €8,600 - was incurred in cities across Ireland.

Another member of staff travelled to Belgium twice, San Francisco, Tucson, Toulouse and cities across Ireland at a cost of more than €11,000.

While some staff members racked up a large amount of trips - some travelled more than 30 or 40 times throughout the year - others went on just one or two.

However, some of these lasted several days, sometimes weeks, and racked up costs into the thousands.

One such trip saw a staff member spend 14 days in Nice, France, at a cost of more than €4,300.

Another staff member spent more than 40 days in Beijing racking up travel costs of more than €7,000.

A spokesperson for the institute said: “CIT had approximately 1,200 individual staff travelling during the year and the cost is less than 1% of total annual expenditure.

“CIT have very strong controls and overview of travel expenditure and the spend is reflective of the high level of engagement of CIT staff in research and collaborative projects both domestic and foreign,” she added.

It is not the first time CIT’s spending has raised a few eyebrows.

In 2017, The Echo revealed that the institute spent almost €13,000 on events to mark the retirement of former president, Dr Brendan Murphy.

One event included an ice-sculpture of a dolphin.

CIT appeared at the Public Accounts Committee following the revelations and revealed that approximately half of the cost of the party was outside spending regulations.

As a result, it was told it may lose some of its next State-funded grant in order to pay back the money. The ice sculpture was revealed to be one of the items paid for with taxpayers money.

New rules were imposed last year meaning all future expenses incurred by current CIT President, Dr Barry O’Connor, will have to be signed off by the college’s vice president for finance.

The college was reported to have turned a €1.2m deficit in 2015 into a €700,000 surplus through cost-cutting and revenue generating measures, despite losing almost 30% of its state-funding and facing an increase in student numbers of 13%.

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