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Institutes of Technology.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 6 May 2009

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Questions (545)

Charles Flanagan


596 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Science, further to Parliamentary Question No. 404 of 20 May 2008 and No. 216 of 20 February 2009, the amount of money discharged by Athlone Institute of Technology in dealing with the complaints of bullying and harassment at the institute since the year 2000; if he will confirm the sum broken down by year in respect of complaints; if he will further confirm the accuracy or otherwise of a freedom of information request lodged by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17637/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

The Institutes of Technology are autonomous statutory bodies. Under the terms of the relevant legislation, the governance and day-to-day management of the institutions, including procedures for dealing with allegations of bullying and harassment, are matters for which the Governing Bodies and the management of the relevant institutions are responsible. As employers all of the institutes of technology have in place formal procedures for dealing with allegations of bullying and harassment which provide for investigation of such matters by a third party. Any staff member who is not satisfied with the outcome of an investigation has a right of appeal to a Rights Commissioner. The Employment Equality Acts and Health and Safety legislation place specific obligations on employers in relation to protection from harassment and promoting the health and safety of their workers, who have rights and are entitled to due process.

Investigations into allegations of bullying and harassment, by their nature, can sometimes be lengthy and costly because due process is required.

Costs incurred by the institutions in addressing complaints of bullying and harassment are met from within the institutions' budgets and are not notified to my Department. Accordingly the information sought by the Deputy is not available in my Department. My Department has no record of having received a Freedom of Information Request from the person referred to by the Deputy. Institutes of Technology are also subject to the Freedom of Information legislation and all requests for Information received by institutions are required to be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of that legislation.