Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (456, 457, 458)

Olwyn Enright

Question:

571 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the reasons for the closure of the Linguistics Institute of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2204/04]

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Olwyn Enright

Question:

572 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the level of funding allocated to the Linguistics Institute of Ireland for 2004; the level of funding allocated to the Linguistics Institute of Ireland for 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2205/04]

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Olwyn Enright

Question:

573 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department will meet with staff members of the Linguistics Institute of Ireland before the closure of the institute; if there are arrangements in place for the continuation of research work undertaken by the institute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2206/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 571, 572 and 573 together.

Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann is a company limited by guarantee. In recent years a value for money study and an independent consultancy study have made recommendations for the reorganisation of the institute's activities. My Department had discussions with representatives of the executive committee of the company about its future intentions, having regard to several operational issues. The operation of the company is a matter for the members in accordance with their memorandum and articles of association.

At an extraordinary general meeting of ITE, held on 18 July 2003, the company agreed to initiate a process of voluntary liquidation. A meeting of the executive committee of ITE on 5 December agreed a timetable for the appointment of a liquidator, who was appointed on 9 January 2004, and agreed to issue redundancy notices to staff in advance of this. The period of notice of redundancy for the staff has been extended by four weeks from 9 January 2004 to 6 February 2004. Officials from my Department met with all members of staff of ITE in December 2003.

My Department has given a commitment to provide every assistance to the company in giving effect to its future intentions, in partnership with the staff of the institute. This will include arrangements for ensuring the continuation of the research functions previously carried out by the institute and, in the interests of assisting with an orderly wind-up, facilitating appropriate redeployment or other appropriate arrangements for permanent staff in line with general public service policy in these matters and subject to agreement with the Department of Finance. My Department is exploring options that may be available in this context. The entitlements of those employees for whom appropriate redeployment arrangements are not made will be determined in accordance with the terms of their contracts. I have asked to be kept informed of progress in these matters. The funding provided to the company since 2000 is as follows: 2000, €1.638 million; 2001, €1.657 million; 2002, €1.764 million; 2003, €1.985 million. The funding proposed for 2004 is likely to be of the order of €2.5 million in the context of the liquidation and this will be reflected in the revised estimates.