Former president of Eden College Batt O'Keeffe 'astounded' by claims

Thursday 15 May 2014 22.14
Batt O'Keeffe said he had no involvement with the day-to-day running of Eden College
Batt O'Keeffe said he had no involvement with the day-to-day running of Eden College

Former minister for education Batt O'Keeffe has said he is astounded by allegations of irregularities at a college that catered for English language students and of which he was president.

Eden College, which was located on Burgh Quay in Dublin, closed suddenly last month after it was suspended from a register of approved colleges by Irish immigration authorities.

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service said Eden College was suspended for immigration purposes, pending an investigation of claims made against it.

Mr O'Keeffe, who said he resigned from his role with the college just prior to its suspension, said he was just an advisor on policy and direction.

He said he had no involvement with the day-to-day running of the college.

As a minister in the last government, Mr O'Keeffe established a task force to look at regulation of the sector.

One of its aims was to ensure that what he called "so-called rogue" colleges could not operate.

Mr O'Keeffe said he would be extremely careful in future given the bad experience that he had had.

More than 1,000 foreign students have been left out of pocket after the closure of Eden College.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said he has every sympathy for "students who have lost out as a result of the closure of two colleges which cater for international students".

The minister said unfortunately the colleges were in the private sector, but that he was looking into it "to ensure it doesn't happen again".

What has happened is very bad for the Irish reputation abroad, he said.