Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 14 February 2019
Public Accounts Committee
Business of Committee
There is much detail included in the correspondence. As a committee, we requested a number of pieces of information. The correspondence indicates that there are three elements that will be responded to at a later date, but as there may be more, we might liaise with the clerk on the outstanding requests.
The first point made in the reply is related to surveillance and is mind-boggling because of the way it is written. One has to read it two or three times in order to understand it. It states: "In relation to the request by the committee for an information note on any costs for surveillance in any of the prisons or any prison offices over the past five years, the Irish Prison Service has no information to suggest that any authorised covert surveillance of a prison officer has been undertaken by the Irish Prison Service". That relates to authorised, not unauthorised, activity. The reply continues:
Companies were engaged by the Irish Prison Service operational support group. Records show that one company was paid a cumulative total of €9,586.59 in 2011 and €8,641.68 in 2012. A second company was paid a cumulative total of €10,774.12 in 2011. It is not possible from the information available to determine if these payments relate to the surveillance of prison staff.
Effectively, the Irish Prison Service does not know why the money was paid. The executive summary states money has been spent, but the service has no idea why it was spent. It is mind-boggling.