Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Finance
Michael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
Question 162: To ask the Minister for Finance the current status of the internal report requested by the Secretary General of his Department in regard to the €3.6 billion accounting error in the reported figure for Ireland’s general Government debt for end 2010; the person who is preparing this report; when it is expected to be completed and given to him; if he will give a progress report into the external review of the systems in the Department, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Central Statistics Office which was promised by him when the mistake came to light on 1 November 2011; the person who is conducting this external review; when it is expected to be completed; if he intends to publish in full the internal report and the external review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9379/12]
Michael Noonan (Minister, Department of Finance; Limerick City, Fine Gael)
A draft of the internal report has been prepared by management in my Department with the professional support of the Department’s Internal Audit Unit. Following advice from the Attorney General’s Office, it is being circulated to some of the parties involved who will be allowed sufficient time to provide their final comments on it. Thereafter, the report will be finalised and submitted to me and then to the Government. Deloitte Consultants have been appointed to undertake the external review which is now under way. I expect the external report to be finalised by the end of the first quarter of this year.
My intention is, subject to legal advice and in a timely manner, to submit both reports to the Committee of Public Accounts and make them public.
Although this error was most regrettable, it was a statistical reporting discrepancy where our debt level was mistakenly stated as being higher than it actually was, but which had no impact on the 2011 budgetary deficit.