Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Public Accounts Committee
Business of Committee
Are the minutes of the meeting of Thursday, 26 June agreed to? Agreed.
No. 3 is correspondence received since our meeting on 26 June. No. 3A is correspondence received from Accounting Officers and-or Ministers. No. 3A.1 is correspondence, dated 25 June 2014, from the Secretary General at the Department of Justice and Equality regarding the Irish Prison Service recording system. The correspondence is to be noted and published.
No. 3B is individual items of correspondence. No. 3B.1 is correspondence, dated 19 June 2014, from Mr. Eamonn Molloy, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and a reply to correspondence regarding a national postcodes system from Mr. Gary Delaney. The correspondence is to be noted and published and a copy forwarded to Mr. Delaney.
No. 3B.2 is correspondence from Ms Mary Farrell regarding fund losses relating to wards of courts. The correspondence is to be noted and a copy forwarded to the Department of Justice and Equality for a note on the matters raised.
No. 3B.3 is correspondence, dated 25 June 2014, from the Secretary General at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and a reply to correspondence from Mr. Michael Wall of SIPTU regarding public private partnerships in the water sector. The correspondence is to be noted and a copy forwarded to Mr. Wall.
No. 3B.4 is correspondence received from PARC Road Safety Group regarding observations from the District Court in April and May 2014 in respect of driving offences. The correspondence is to be noted and a copy forwarded to the Courts Service and the Department of Justice and Equality for a note on the matters raised. This issue was also raised at our meeting with delegates from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Road Safety Authority. The content of the letter may be of use to us in completing our report on the penalty points system.
No. 3B.5 is correspondence, dated 20 June 2014, from Mr. Alan Stapleton, chairman of the Phlebotomists Association of Ireland, regarding funding for phlebotomy services. The correspondence is to be noted and a copy forwarded to the Health Service Executive for a note on the matters raised.
No. 3B.6 is correspondence, dated 20 June 2014, from Mr. William Treacy regarding issues raised with the committee. The correspondence is to be noted.
No. 3C concerns documents relating to today’s meeting. 3C.1 is correspondence dated 30 June 2014 received from Giles Kennedy & Co. Solicitors, re their client, Mr. Brian Conlan, and the invitation issued to him for today’s meeting. It is to be noted and published. Mr. Conlan has not accepted the committee’s invitation to appear today. The committee has sent an interim reply which rejects the allegations he made. It is also a matter for the HSE to correct any factual inaccuracies in the Cregan report. We can review after today’s meeting whether Mr. Conlan’s evidence is necessary in order to complete our examination of the CRC.
No. 3C.2 is correspondence, received on 1 July 2014 from Mr. Kieran Timmins, chairman, CRC, re his opening statement. That is to be noted and published. No. 3C.3 is correspondence, received 2 July 2014 from HSE re his opening statement. That is to be noted and published.
No. 4 concerns reports, statements and accounts received from the Garda Síochána Complaints Board and the Pensions Board, both of which have a clear audit. The accounts are to be noted.
No. 5. is the work programme, which is shown on the screen. The Garda Síochána will come in next week and the business of the following week is to be confirmed, pending the decision from the CPP on the compellability applications. No. 6. is any other business. Do members wish to raise anything?
Mr. Tony O'Brien, the CEO of the HSE, was before us recently. He gave a commitment to revert to the committee in respect of accident and emergency services at University Hospital Limerick. Has there been any update by means of correspondence? If we have not received anything yet, could the clerk make contact with the HSE? A commitment was given and the matter is a serious one in Limerick. I wish to find out the up-to-date position.
Are there any other matters arising? I wish to ask the clerk or the Comptroller and Auditor General to confirm whether Horse Sport Ireland comes under the remit of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.
Clerk to the Committee:
I might be able to answer the question because a letter will be before us next week from the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland making some complaints. Horse Sport Ireland gets funding from the Irish Sports Council as a governing body which means it comes under the remit of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. In the past it might also have received money from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Both of those Departments are probably relevant to the body.
Could we write to both Departments to ask them about the accounts and governance issues, whether there is an audit committee, who is on the board, what the criteria are for the allocation of grants and who applies to it. We would like a detailed reply on its activities and an annual report if one is available. Then we can decide on some of the issues that have been raised with us.
Could we agree the agenda for Thursday, 10 July 2014? We will deal with the 2012 Appropriation Accounts of the Comptroller and Auditor General - Vote 20, Garda Síochána; Chapter 8, management of outsourced safety cameras. Is that agreed? Agreed.
When the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport was before the committee, the Road Safety Authority, RSA, was also present. I asked it to provide us with information on an analysis of causation of accidents, in particular blood alcohol levels. The committee asked the RSA to provide us with the information. Did we send a formal request? If we did, perhaps we could follow it up and try to get some data.