Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Public Accounts Committee

Business of Committee (Resumed)

10:05 am

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Members will recall that we postponed our hearings on the Dublin Docklands Development Authority in July last year given that legal proceedings had been initiated against the authority by Donatex Limited and Mr. Bernard McNamara. At the time, this committee was advised that there was a risk that ongoing examination could encroach on the work of the courts and damage the ability of a State body to defend the case. That case has now been dealt with and the committee can resume its consideration of the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Dublin Docklands Development Authority was asked for certain information at the meeting of this committee on 14 June 2012 and this information should now be requested again. The authority should be asked to supply it to the committee.

In July last year, the committee agreed to postpone its meeting scheduled for 12 July, at which it was to examine the departmental oversight of the authority. We should now reschedule that meeting with the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. I refer to the increase in the borrowing limit of the authority, which was sanctioned by the then Department of Finance.

We had agreed to take evidence from the former chairman of the authority, Ms Niamh Brennan, who was appointed after the events covered by the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General, as a number of changes were made by Ms Brennan in the authority arising from events that are again covered in the report. We also agreed that the current executive should attend all future meetings of the committee. We may return to the issue covered on 14 June 2012, especially where witnesses felt the threat of court action prevented them from giving evidence that could have been the subject of that action. There are a number of other potential witnesses whom we can invite to assist the committee in its examination of this issue. Members referred to them at our meeting on 14 June 2012. I include the individuals who held key posts in the executive and also those who were on the board of the authority during the period in question and who are covered by the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General. We can review the situation when we have examined the departmental oversight issues, which will put our examination back on track. We can take all those steps immediately now that the threat of court action has been lifted. With the agreement of members, I ask the clerk to the committee to go through the transcripts of the meetings to compile the various requests we now need to make of the parties involved and begin the process of holding the hearings. Is that agreed? Agreed.

In February, I believe, we dealt with the question of Dublin Waterworld. We sent letters to various relevant parties. We have not yet received a reply so I ask the clerk to the committee to issue a reminder to the various agencies we wrote to in order to ensure the matter will be dealt with fully.


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