Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 32 - Enterprise, Trade and Employment
Chapter 6 - Covid-19 Restart Grant Schemes

9:30 am

Photo of Catherine MurphyCatherine Murphy (Kildare North, Social Democrats)
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I ask Dr. Quinn to provide a breakdown of those separately - who the staff are and what the vacancies are - rather than going into it in detail now.

In 2015, the then Secretary General of the Department of Taoiseach stated that commissions of investigation and tribunals had cost the State in the region of €500 million up to that point. Obviously, that cost has increased since. That was the collective cost over a couple of decades. If you do not pay, it is not all going to fall within this particular area, but some of it will. We pay for this one way or the other. It is far better to take a preventative approach rather than a reactive approach. An organisation such as this, with real teeth, is very important. I think we are missing the boat in terms of embedding bigger powers, including the right to arrest and things like that, but that is a policy area. Has a business case been made in respect of the staffing issues? If the Department cannot get certain grades of workers and is competing against the private sector, has a business case been made in respect of particular skill sets?