Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 11 October 2018
Public Accounts Committee
Business of Committee
We did say in the minutes that we would include the national broadband plan and the information and communications technology, ICT, programme for the Department in our work programme for that meeting. We want answers to every single item of correspondence we have sent to the Secretary General of the Department in recent months before he appears here next week. Maybe we have got all the replies but I would like that doublechecked.
The next item arising out of the minutes of the last meeting, on 4 October, is that we noted all the financial statements over the course of the summer. We noted with regard to No. 412, that the accounts of the Dublin Greyhound and Sports Association Limited were certified in June 2018 and were received in August 2018. It received a clear audit opinion and the Comptroller and Auditor General noted on the documents given to us last week that the committee ceased trading in February 2017 and the agreement was reached for the sale of the premises, Harold's Cross Stadium, for €23 million, which is sufficient to allow the company discharge its residential liability. I think that is a fair assessment of how the price was arrived at.
Arising from the minutes we want a detailed report from the Department of Education and Skills on how it felt it was appropriate to spend €23 million of the schools land acquisition budget to bail out the Irish Greyhound Board, IGB. It would have been far more transparent if the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine had wanted to bail out the IGB and clear its debts to put in a supplementary Estimate and do it that way. That might have been in breach of state aid rules but maybe it said if it put a value on the asset and got another Department to buy the asset for €23 million perhaps that would not breach state aid rules. I do not know if that was a factor. Bord na gCon was in here some time ago a day or two after this sale was announced but there was a lack of candour. It did not tell us that it had two in-house valuations discussed by its own board of €6 million and €12 million. That was not made known to the committee.