Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Public Accounts Committee

2020 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 38 - Health

9:30 am

Mr. Robert Watt:

I do not know. I was on the other side, in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. I recall, from my perspective over there, the engagement between Paul Reid and the Department of Health on the procurement. Obviously, it was done very quickly in difficult circumstances. We were trying to access PPE, which was in short supply, and we needed to get it quickly to protect people. The procurement of that was a challenge. From my perspective in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, we were trying to ensure we had proper sanctions and reporting and that, where possible, we were complying. I cannot say exactly what role my predecessor, Jim Breslin, played vis-à-visthe HSE, but I imagine he and the finance team were involved with the HSE, because the sums were so enormous, to work through exactly how we would go about that. The HSE was taking the lead, but the Department would have been supportive of what it was doing.