Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Public Accounts Committee

Business of Committee

9:00 am

Photo of David CullinaneDavid Cullinane (Waterford, Sinn Fein)
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We only got this report this morning and we are still reading through it. It is a seven-page report. We would not have this report had it not been for a freedom of information, FOI, request by a journalist of The Irish Times. That is the first, and obvious, point to make.

Mr. Finnegan was before this committee for the first time on 11 July of this year. I asked him specific questions in relation to one of the broad headings in the Appropriation Account which was office equipment and ICT expenditure. There was an overspend of approximately €9.5 million and Mr. Finnegan's response at the time was that there was a three-year cycle, money had to be spent at the end of that three-year cycle and, as the Chairman referenced, there was a contract that was brought forward to replace laptops which nobody had a difficulty with. Mr. Finnegan mentioned the printer unit and the €1.3 million cost. What he did not mention was all of the other issues contained in this seven-page report, including the reference to the lack of understanding and not proper examination in the critical early stages of the project in relation to requirements.

The report essentially states that the initial contract - I suppose, the initial intention - was to locate this printer in printer room 1 and then that was not possible because of sizes, maybe because of mistakes in measurements or whatever happened. We still do not know. It is not clear from this report. It is clear mistakes were made but it is not clear in this report who exactly made the mistakes. When Mr. Finnegan refers to a lack of expertise, exactly what is he talking about?

In his report, when Mr. Finnegan is giving the costs, it is VAT inclusive when it comes to the machine itself and VAT exclusive when it comes to the adaption works that had to be done. What is the total cost?