Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Public Accounts Committee
Financial Statements of the Higher Education Authority 2013
General Report No. 85 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: Accountability and Governance on the National College of Art and Design
I am going to give Mr. Ó Foghlú an opinion more than anything else. It might be a question of sorts. If this happened on my watch, notwithstanding Mr. Kelly's prospective work, I would get the officials and possibly people from the governing body - the chairman has left Waterford Institute of Technology - in Mr. Ó Foghlú's offices. That did happen to some extent. Mr. Ó Foghlú passed the buck to Mr. Kelly. Both organisations should have moved in immediately and dealt with the two organisations singly and jointly, dealt with this once and for all and made a decision as to the best way forward for both institutions as opposed to passing it on for someone else to write a report - number four or five. Here we are waiting for another report with recommendations ad nauseam about Waterford and Carlow. This has continued for years. Notwithstanding what Mr. Ó Foghlú has said with regard to the reasons and the non-publication of the reasons why it failed or suspended, that is the approach. The public purse would probably have been better served in the long term if you did that. It is necessary at this point. It includes drilling down into the governing bodies and the people who manage both institutions to find out what can be rescued from this, if it is possible to re-merge and begin that process again.
From the standpoint of the city and the region I am dealing with it, it is a critical infrastructural component. Progress has been stagnant for a long time. One of the reasons has been that it has not reached that stage. The process has been put together. In fairness, it is successful in Dublin but up to now, it has failed in the south east. Extraordinary measures need to be taken outside of just appointing Mr. Kelly and frankly regurgitating stuff that we already know about. It is a suggestion. Given that we are the Committee of Public Accounts and given almost €400,000 that has been spent, we will be re-engaging the public purse if this process begins again and the money needs to be better spent than it was in the past couple of years.