The Irish government is considering taking legal action against the European University of Ireland (EUI) which operates out of an accommodation address in a run-down part of Dublin.
The company has a website and claims to offer bachelor degrees, postgraduate diplomas and an accelerated MBA course. There are no formal entry requirements and the website says the "university" facilitates "off-campus" distance learning through its various faculties worldwide.
Fees are not given on the website, and it is not known how many students it has "enrolled". The listed directors could not be contacted by phone.
The EUI was incorporated as a company in June 1997 and accounts lodged with the Companies Office are up to date, but they give nothing away in terms of profit or loss.
Under the 1996 Universities Act permission is needed from the minister for education for an organisation to call itself a university. The EUI's activities were highlighted four years ago in The Times Higher . The department of education and science has confirmed that it is considering advice recently received from the attorney general's office.
The EUI uses the same initials as the prestigious European University Institute in Florence, but there is no connection between the two.