Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - UCG Public Relations Expenditure.

4.

asked the Minister for Education whether he is aware that the authorities of University College, Galway, have decided to employ a public relations firm to act on behalf of the college; if such expenditure by the college requires to be authorised by his Department or by the Higher Education Authority; and if such expenditure has been authorised.

The question of formal authorisation does not normally arise in relation to detailed items within the budget of a university college and it did not arise in this case.

Could we have the benefit of the Minister's opinion as to whether he believes that such practices should be encouraged or discouraged?

It is not part of my duty to say whether it should be encouraged or discouraged. As the Deputy knows, the Higher Education Authority make demands on the Department of Education and make allocations to the various universities and university colleges. The accounts are subject to the inspection of the Comptroller and Auditor General.