Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 11 October 2018
Public Accounts Committee
2017 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 13 - Office of Public Works
Chapter 6: Lease of Offices at Miesian Plaza
Here we are again. This is what we consistently see here. It is the culture of systemic failure with no individual responsible. We are talking about €10 million. So far it has cost us €17 million because of the delay, and I appreciate Mr. Buckley is saying the OPW had to do the fit-out, and then there will be a payment of €344,000 per year after that. So far, nobody is responsible but we have established that nobody at the top is qualified in terms of academic qualifications.
Mr. Buckley said net lettable area and IPMS3 is a complex issue but it is not. It is basic banana maths except we are dealing with millions of euro of the public's money. A five year old with 20 cent in a sweet shop would not make the mistakes we are making as a nation with millions of euro. There is nothing specialist about the maths 101 mistake that was made in this deal, which cost people a fortune.
We can only judge what is provided to us in writing. We have it in writing that the OPW was told this in February 2017. With the best of respect to Mr. Burke and the experience he has in the OPW, the entire assistant secretary level in the OPW has no property qualification. I am the only licensed property professional in the room and I am on the Committee of Public Accounts. I have my licence from the PSRA. I am a member of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, IPAV. None of the witnesses is but they have significant experience, more experience than anybody else here in property. One thing is certain, if the person who made banana maths mistake that cost €1 million was working for Jones Lang LaSalle, he or she would not have made it to the end of that week. That person would be gone. People would be identified. As is the norm here, we take refuge in words such as "culture", "systemic failure" and "review". Deputy Connolly ascertained that there was internal review. An external reviewer has been brought in who will get a brief from the OPW and who will be able to give it some credibility through the fact there will be an outcome that states the OPW has new processes and procedures in place. Mr. Buckley mentioned this. What new processes and procedures have been put in place to prevent this happening again?