UL president announces resignation from office

UL President Kerstin Mey is to stand down. Photo: Sean Curtin.

THE PRESIDENT of the University of Limerick (UL) will resign from her role as head of the university, UL Chancellor Brigid Laffan confirmed this Friday (June 14).

Professor Kerstin Mey will stand down from the top job at UL from September 1, opting instead to take up a professorship within the university.

The announcement comes after a period of leave for the UL president, citing health reasons.

Professor Mey had faced mounting pressure to step down since it emerged that UL purchased 20 houses in Rhebogue to use as student accommodation for far above the market value for homes in the area, and allegedly without the correct planning permission to operate as student housing.

This came just a few years after UL’s controversy relating to the overspend on the former Dunnes Stores building on Sarsfield Street to use as their city centre campus, which was be.

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Prof Mey appeared before the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in May 2023 to answer questions on the university’s overspend on the former Dunnes Stores building on Sarsfield Street in 2019.

At this hearing, Prof Mey told PAC members that issues around UL’s governance and spending had been ironed out, and that there would be no more scandals about spending at UL.

However, less than a year later it emerged that UL purchased the 20 houses in Rhebogue for €11.44million, rising to €12.58million when stamp duty was included.

This works out at approximately €630,000 per house, when comparable examples in the area were selling for half this price.

In March this year, Prof Mey admitted that UL paid “significantly above market price” for the development in a letter to the UL community.

In the letter, Prof Mey wrote that “it is a matter of regret for me as President and I am aware that there is frustration and anger among staff members that this has happened so soon after the issues that arose in relation to the City Centre Campus.”

In May this year, representatives from UL, with Prof Mey notably absent, appeared again before the PAC to answer questions relating to the Rhebogue purchase.

Interim university President Shane Kilcommins told members of the PAC that the purchase was “unusual” and that it “failed on a number of levels”.

UL have said that they have no further comment on Prof Mey’s resignation as president at this time.