IT Tralee “has significant money issues”, report finds

The review found the institute to be overstaffed and losing money and students

An independent review, commissioned by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), into the finances at Institute of Technology Tralee (IT Tralee) has found the institution to be overstaffed, losing money, and having serious problems generating cash flow.

The review was carried out by Deloitte, who have forecast that IT Tralee’s growing deficit could rise to €4 million in the coming years.

The report highlights falling student numbers as one of the institute’s key funding difficulties. IT Tralee currently has 3,500 full and part-time students, a number which has dropped by over 15% since 2015.

The review challenges IT Tralee’s own accounts which forecast the institute will be running a surplus by 2021/22, based on a 20% rise in student numbers in the next five years. The review instead projects that student numbers will rise by only 7% in the same period.

The review further states that the institute will need to find €3 million in order to complete work on building the Kerry Sports Academy, a centre on campus which is intended for use by students and county GAA teams.

Plans for the institute to merge with Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) to become a Technological University may now have to be put on hold following the review, which is reported to have caused alarm to some within CIT, based on the prospect that if the merger were to go ahead, CIT would likely have to absorb the deficit that IT Tralee is currently running.

The report also concludes that the institute is overstaffed and one recommendation offered is that the Government set up a voluntary redundancy or early retirement programme. IT Tralee currently employs around 350 members of staff across their two campuses in Tralee, county Kerry.

In a statement the HEA said that it recognised that for some time IT Tralee has been in a “challenging financial position” and added that they are continuing to “monitor this situation and work with IT Tralee as it seeks to stabilise its finances”.

Finn Purdy

Finn Purdy is the current Deputy Editor of Trinity News. He is a Junior Sophister English Studies student, and a former News Editor and Assistant News Editor.