Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Questions (137)

Willie Penrose


250 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the steps he intends to take to provide the necessary funding to allow the Linguistics Institute of Ireland to continue, which has played an important role in research and development work associated with language and education and has a reputation for excellence both in Ireland and internationally; if, in that context, he will reconsider the decision and maintain or restructure the institute so that its valuable work can continue into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2527/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

At an extraordinary general meeting of ITE held on 18 July 2003, the company agreed to initiate a process of voluntary liquidation. The operation of the company is a matter for the members in accordance with their memorandum and articles of association. I understand that a meeting of the executive committee of ITE on 5 December agreed a timetable for the appointment of a liquidator, who was subsequently appointed on 9 January 2004, and agreed to issue redundancy notices to staff in advance of that. 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 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. That 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 those matters and subject to agreement with the Department of Finance.

Options that may be available in this context are being explored by my Department. 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.