Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 27 February 2014
Public Accounts Committee
Business of Committtee
The first item is the minutes of the meeting of 20 February 2014. Are those minutes agreed? Agreed.
I will now deal with matters arising from that meeting. At last week's meeting, we agreed to visit NAMA. The chairman of NAMA is currently away but a meeting will be arranged in the coming weeks where we will get a briefing and a walk through on their operations. That meeting will be the subgroup, which is possibly the full committee.
The Oireachtas library and research service is also engaged in doing work for the committee on NAMA. As soon as the chairman of NAMA returns we will set that date and will visit them in their offices.
I will now deal with correspondence received since our meeting of Thursday, 20 February 2014. No. 3A is correspondence from Accounting Officers and-or Ministers.
No. 3A.1 is correspondence received 20 February 2014 from Mr. Paul O’Toole, CEO, SOLAS, re investigation into whistleblowing at SOLAS, to be noted and published.
No. 3A.2 is correspondence received 24 February 2014 from Mr. Ray Mitchell, HSE, re update on section 38 agencies, to be noted and published.
No. 3B is individual correspondence.
No. 3B.1 is correspondence dated 17 February 2014 from Mr. Brendan Ryan, CEO, Courts Service re reply to correspondence from Deputy Derek Nolan to be noted and a copy forwarded to Mr. Brian McDonald.
No. 3B.2 is correspondence dated 5 February 2013 from Mr. John Ryan, Enniskerry, County Wicklow, re correspondence re inappropriate follow-up by the Garda and the cancellation of penalty points, to be noted and forwarded to the Garda Commissioner for a note and for appropriate follow-up.
No. 3B.3 is correspondence dated 15 February 2014 from Dr. Colm Henry, Chairperson, An Bord Bainistíochta, Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Alainn, re Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Alainn, Mayfield, Cork, to be noted and a reply will issue to Dr. Henry outlining the position of the committee
No. 3B.4 is correspondence dated 18 November 2014 from Deputy Colm Keaveney re investigation in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, to be noted and a copy to be forwarded to the Department of Education and Skills for a note on the issues raised.
No. 3B.5 is correspondence received 20 February 2014 from Mr. William Treacy re correspondence to the Committee of Public Accounts, to be noted.
No. 3B.6 is correspondence dated 18 November 2013 from Mr. Dan Foley re Kildimo and Pallaskenry Bleach Lough Water Retention Committee, to be noted. This is not a matter for the Committee of Public Accounts and it is an issue that has been ongoing since 1997. While it is primarily a matter for the local authority, I propose that it now be sent to Irish Water to see if a resolution can be found that will satisfy the local community. Mr. Foley will be notified of this.
No. 3B.7 is correspondence dated 25 February 2014 from Mr. Martin Nolan, Bus Éireann, re Bus Éireann investigation into the school transport scheme, to be noted and a copy forwarded to Mr. Gerry Mullins, Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland, for his information. There was further correspondence querying the school transport scheme so this reply needs to go to those individuals and perhaps to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for its comment on the matter. It has been raised with the Department.
No. 3.C is correspondence relevant to today’s meeting. This includes 3C.1 to 3C.4, opening statements from today’s witnesses, to be noted and published.
No. 4 is reports, statements and accounts received since our meeting of 20 February 2014. They are listed below from 4.1 to 4.3, inclusive. The accounts are to be noted.
|4.1||The Equality Authority||Annual Report and Accounts 2012||Clear audit opinion|
|4.2||Church of Ireland College of Education||Annual Report and Accounts 2012||Clear audit opinion|
|4.3||Institute of Technology Tallaght||Annual Report and Accounts 2012||Clear audit opinion|
Attention drawn to note 23 which provides details of the Institute's interest in a subsidiary undertaking, Growcorp Limited, and discloses that the Institute will consolidate the results of this company into its next financial statements.
Attention also drawn to late review of the effectiveness of the system of internal control by the Governing Body.
There are a number of issues concerning the institutes of technology on which we have received in correspondence. I know we forward them to the Department of Education and Skills for relevant comments but perhaps we need to revisit the matter in the context of arranging a hearing with some of the institutes, particularly the ones about which we have received correspondence. The Institute of Technology Tallaght is one of them, as is Cork Institute of Technology.
Are the work programme and the agenda for the meeting on 6 March 2014 agreed? Agreed.
Several issues concerning our work programme are still outstanding, one of them being the meeting with the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, CPP. The clerk has informed me that we are expecting a letter from CPP next week which will deal with the permission we sought to release the transcript of the private meeting we had with Sergeant Maurice McCabe. I understand the response is in the negative but we can discuss this next week when we get the written confirmation. We have asked our legal adviser for a review of the committee’s remit. There is the oversight of the Central Bank which will be dealt with next week. We need to seek advice as to what we will do with the whistleblower documents which we continue to hold.