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Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: I want to move on to another topic relating to the accumulated debts in Waterford, the Institute of Technology, Tralee and the National College of Art and Design. IT Tralee is now joined with Cork Institute of Technology. How is that going to be handled? Will CIT accumulate the debt? How is it intended to reduce the deficit?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Is Dr. Wall satisfied that there is a means of dealing with this?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: There was a difference in funding in 2020 because of Covid. There was an increased income of €263 million and a lot of additional places, some of which were split places, were provided. Has the HEA factored that into how that is going to run from 2020 onwards because courses will run over a period of time?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Could Dr. Wall give us a projection of those for those five years? If he could send that to us in a note, it would be helpful. Did the HEA have any concerns about the use by the institutions of the additional funding?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Yes.

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Is a third party carrying out an audit?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Who is that?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Is the HEA concerned that anything is likely to be shown up here? Has the HEA identified anything of concern?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: What are those issues?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Is the HEA concerned about overpayments and duplication in payments?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: How many of them would the HEA have concerns about?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: So it is not sector-wide; it is specific.

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: When does the HEA expect that audit to be complete?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Where will the HEA share that?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: I suspect the Comptroller and Auditor General will get a copy of it and it will come to us at some point but it would be better if we saw it at an early stage. Has the HEA met with UL? Has it talked to UL about what has transpired?

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: The third level sector was very much a feature of the previous Committee of Public Accounts. In fact, "Prime Time" did a special report on it. There were conflicts of interest and problems with things like spin-out companies and how the accounts were presented. Dr. Wall spoke about taking people on trust. I certainly would not take this sector on trust. Taking it on trust is a...

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: The universities know this legislation is on the way. Has there been a cultural change, even with regard to the definition of employment? There has been some very precarious employment. In parts of the sector, there are much poorer levels of secure employment than in even the preschool sector. Some of it is deplorable. Is Dr. Wall getting the impression that they are changing, even in...

Public Accounts Committee: Higher Education Authority: Financial Statements 2019 (1 Jul 2021)

Catherine Murphy: I refer to the information on employment. Has that been forthcoming from the various institutions and colleges? The previous Committee of Public Accounts got detailed information because we probed the ratio of permanent to temporary contracts. We are not talking about visiting lecturers but people who are being exploited. For example, they do not get holiday entitlements or anything like...

Public Accounts Committee: 2018 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General
Chapter 8 - Control of Humanitarian Assistance Funding
2019 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 27 - International Co-operation
Vote 28 - Foreign Affairs and Trade
(24 Jun 2021)

Catherine Murphy: We are getting into very short time slots now so I will ask a series of questions on one issue. Mr. Burgess might give me very brief replies, please. There is always a discussion about leasing versus ownership and trying to get the balance right. I want to focus on Ireland House in Tokyo. I understand that is still under construction. It is for the embassy and will obviously host State...

Public Accounts Committee: 2018 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General
Chapter 8 - Control of Humanitarian Assistance Funding
2019 Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 27 - International Co-operation
Vote 28 - Foreign Affairs and Trade
(24 Jun 2021)

Catherine Murphy: Okay. I thank Mr. Burgess for that. I will also ask about Irish Aid and Palestine. The briefing cites a figure of €12.7 million for 2019 only. I am trying to address cases where medical supplies might be destroyed by conflict, for example. Does the Department seek reparations in such cases? Has it recovered anything from Israel in that year? Is that approach taken by the Department?

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