Ireland's higher education institutions must provide details of staff involvement in university-linked businesses in response to parliamentary concerns.

Ireland’s higher education sector is facing questions over staff connections with spinouts after coming under fire for its conduct in the area in the Irish parliament, the Irish Examiner has reported.

The parliament’s public accounts committee will seek specific details on staff-spinout relations from all Irish institutions and the country’s Higher Education Authority, after examining evidence provided by Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT).

Committee members concluded more information should have been held identifying staff, salary levels and other matters related to tech transfer activity, to reduce the risk of university-affiliated companies being given undue preference for tender contracts launched by their home institution.

Alan Kelly, the deputy chair of the committee, was critical of what he regarded as “vague” answers to its enquiries so far.

He said: “This has taken two years to be brought about. It is not something I feel is acceptable.”

The development comes after Ireland’s Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy, slammed WIT for documentation and potential conflict-of-interest shortcomings in its handling of software development spinout FeedHenry.

McCarthy has since advised that all spinouts and staff-founded businesses must under law follow the governance rules and practices of the institution involved in their establishment.