Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Public Accounts Committee

2019 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 9 – Office of the Revenue Commissioners
Central Fund Related Accounts - Revenue Account 2019

11:30 am

Matt Carthy (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Mr. Cody said that he would come back to us about bogus self-employment in writing. Could I prompt him to examine correspondence that was sent to this committee by Revenue on 9 August 2000? The reference I am told is PS 3422M/00. That correspondence enclosed letters dated 7 March 1997 and 3 April 1997 to K. Ryan & Co, which represented courier firms, an issue we discussed earlier. The Revenue letter to the Committee of Public Accounts stated that the letters outline the agreement reached for tax purposes. It might give Mr. Cody an indication of the issue raised by the Chairman and myself. I reiterate that bogus self-employment is a crucially important issue because of the income that is lost but also because it breaches the social contract in which we are all engaged with significant repercussions. There has been significant political debate regarding pension age. If we do not take in enough PRSI receipts, it gives succour to those who want to force people to work longer. I ask for a tough approach on the part of Revenue. If ten people working in the same place all have their accounts to Revenue presented by the same company and all have similar working hours and arrangements, Revenue can be fairly sure there is bogus self-employment. Likewise if somebody is working in a meat factory and earning the minimum wage, Revenue can be fairly sure he or she is not genuinely self-employed. If somebody coming from eastern Europe finds himself or herself working in a meat factory under a new company and he or she decides out of the goodness of his or her heart to give that company half of his or her wages, there is a problem.

I will go completely left-field in my final question. An article in the Irish Examineron appointments within Revenue caught my attention. It was very strange. It outlined appointments to principal officer level over the past number of years and indicated that out of ten appointments this year up to September, nine were awarded to female candidates while in 2019, nine were made to female candidates and two to male candidates. Revenue denied that there was any gender imbalance. Could Mr. Cody indicate whether all of those appointments are internal or external? What is the current overall gender balance at principal officer level? I imagine that like most Departments, there is probably an historic gender imbalance that predominantly affects women. Will any corrective measures will be taken to ensure we have a correct balance across the Civil Service?