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COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS debate -
Wednesday, 14 Jun 2017

Vote 20 - Garda Síochána - Internal Audit Report on Garda College, Templemore (Resumed)

We are joined by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. Séamus McCarthy, who is a permanent witness to the committee.

Because of the votes in the Dáil today, the meeting will run as follows. The Dáil is meeting at noon and we will suspend the sitting at approximately 11.50 a.m. to enable members to attend the chamber for the nomination of the Taoiseach. Following the voting, the sitting of the Dáil will be suspended for the afternoon and the committee meeting will resume as close to 3 p.m. as possible. If the voting is completed in the Dáil much earlier than expected, the meeting will resume half an hour afterwards, but we expect it to be completed by 2.30 p.m. or 3 p.m. I understand there will be a suspension of the Dáil sitting of at least three hours in the afternoon. That is the approximate timescale. The Dáil will reassemble to discuss the election of a Government by which time we will have concluded. The committee meeting will certainly not resume after that because that debate will take a few hours to complete. In other words, we will have a morning session until about 11.50 a.m. and an afternoon session, depending on the number of questions to be asked. Speakers have indicated in the following sequence: Deputies David Cullinane, Catherine Murphy, Alan Kelly and Catherine Connolly.

We are continuing to look at the 2015 appropriation accounts, Vote 20 - An Garda Síochána, specifically the interim internal audit report on financial procedures at the Garda College. We discussed the matter on 4 and 31 May and will today engage with Garda senior management and the former chief administrative officer. The Commissioner will appear before the committee next Tuesday, 20 June, to answer further questions. Next Tuesday evening in a separate meeting the committee will meet representatives of the Policing Authority and the Department of Justice and Equality. The focus today is on what has happened since 2015, the interim internal audit report and its implementation. As at our last meeting, I again ask members co-operate fully. We are joined from An Garda Síochána by the deputy commissioner, Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin; the assistant commissioner, Ms Anne Marie McMahon; chief superintendent Margaret Nugent; superintendent Pat McCabe; Mr. Barry McGee, author of the 2008 report; Mr. Joe Nugent, chief administrative officer; and Mr. Cyril Dunne, the former chief administrative officer who left the position in October 2015 and who has indicated his availability until lunchtime.

I remind members, witnesses and those in the Visitors Gallery that all mobile phones must be switched off fully or left in airplane mode. It is not adequate to leave them in silent mode because they will still interfere with the recording system.

By virtue of section 17(2)(l) of the Defamation Act 2009, witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. However, if they are directed by it to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to so do, they are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of their evidence. They are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given and asked to respect the parliamentary practice to the effect that, where possible, they should not criticise or make charges against any person or an entity by name or in such a way as to make him, her or it identifiable.

Members of the committee are reminded of the provisions of Standing Order 186 that the committee shall refrain from inquiring into the merits of a policy or policies of the Government or a Minister of the Government or the objectives of such policies. They are also reminded of the long-standing ruling of the Chair to the effect that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official, either by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable.

As we did not ask for a formal opening statement, we will commence with the first speaker, Deputy David Cullinane, who will have 20 minutes. The second will have 15 minutes, while everyone else will have ten. We need to keep to the timetable because of the tightness of time. Members will have an opportunity to come back in a second time, but we are keeping to the timescale outlined.

I welcome all of the witnesses. Have they been following the proceedings of the Committee on Public Accounts at previous meetings when we had the Garda Commissioner and some of the civilian heads before us? Have they been briefed on what has gone before? Has anyone been briefed by his or her superiors or given briefing notes?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I have not been briefed at all. I have not followed the committee's proceedings, although, to be clear, I have seen numerous things on television, news bulletins and the Vincent Browne programme-----

Has anyone been formally briefed by his or her superiors?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

No.

I assume the members of An Garda Síochána will be aware of what has gone before at previous hearings.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I have seen some but not all of the hearings.

I will begin with Mr. Dunne who may not be aware because he may not have picked up on it in the media coverage he mentioned that at the last meeting of the committee at which we discussed this issue, the head of internal audit, Mr. Niall Kelly, stated in his opening statement that there had been instances of interference, non-co-operation and the withholding of information from the internal audit unit. Is Mr. Dunne aware of that claim?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No.

Mr. Kelly talked about the period from 2008 to 2011 and cited the executive director of finance, Mr. Culhane, as one of the individuals who had not co-operated and withheld information from him. He also cited the chief superintendent at the training college at the time, as well as the administrator and the chief administrative officer. Who would have been the chief administrative officer from 2008 to 2011?

Mr. Pat McCabe

I am not specifically sure; it certainly was not me. I think for part of that period Mr. Leamy might have been, but I am not sure when he started or finished. He certainly finished before I-----

Mr. Kelly claimed that it was the office of the chief administrative officer which had either withheld information from him, interfered with his work or did not co-operate with him in it. Who was the chief superintendent at the training college at the time, in the period from 2008 to 2011? Was it Mr. McCabe?

Mr. Pat McCabe

No, I am the superintendent.

Who was the chief superintendent at the time?

Mr. Pat McCabe

The chief superintendent in 2008 would have been Mr. McGann. Between 2009 and 2010 it would have been the recently retired assistant commissioner, Mr. Nolan.

Who would have had responsibility for the day-to-day management of the training college in the period from 2008 to 2016? Specifically within that structure, who had operational command?

Mr. Pat McCabe

The chief superintendent would have been in overall charge, while the superintendents would have had responsibility for performing various functions.

Therefore, Mr. McCabe would have had obvious responsibilities.

Mr. Pat McCabe

Yes.

As the assistant commissioner, Ms McMahon, would have had.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes. Between March 2011 and August 2016, I had responsibility for the Garda College. Between March 2011 and August 2015, it was an additional responsibility I held. I was the chief superintendent in charge of the Garda community relations bureau at Harcourt Square; it was, therefore, an additional responsibility during that time. I was there on a full-time basis from August 2015 until August 2016.

Are Ms McMahon, Mr. McCabe and Mr. Dunne of the view that none of them withheld information or did not co-operate with or frustrated the work of Mr. Kelly and the internal audit unit? Is that their view?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, absolutely not.

That is Mr. Dunne's view. What about Mr. McCabe?

Mr. Pat McCabe

Absolutely not.

What is Ms McMahon's view?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Likewise.

Mr. Kelly says he sought a copy of the McGee report in 2008 but never got it. Who would have had responsibility to make sure he received it?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I understand that happened before my time.

Everybody has a view that it happened before his or her time. I am interested in the process.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

If the Deputy tells me when, I could give him-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

In 2008 I was nowhere near An Garda Síochána.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

On what went on at that point in time and who was responsible for what, I cannot possibly-----

Mr. Dunne will understand-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I cannot possibly respond to questions like that one.

Mr. Dunne can. In terms of the process involved, if the internal auditor sought from the finance directorate a copy of a report carried out by Mr. McGee and Mr. Kelly says he never got it, I want to know who was responsible for giving it to him. When Mr. Culhane came before the committee, he said the CAO at the time would have had to make that call. We are trying to establish what happened, but a call was made. Mr. Kelly said he was frustrated in his work. He was trying to get a copy of Mr. McGee's report but never got it and he wrote to Mr. Culhane several times. He wrote to the CAO but never got a response. Who in the organisation would have had responsibility to give the internal auditor the 2008 report?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I have no knowledge of what was going on at that point in time.

Does anybody in the room have any knowledge of who-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I cannot possibly speculate.

With respect, Mr. Dunne can. Does anybody in the room know who should have had that responsibility?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I will give the Deputy the information I have, but I will not speculate.

With respect, I am not asking Mr. Dunne to speculate. The witnesses in the room have worked for or are still working for An Garda Síochána. I am asking about the process involved and who was responsible for what. If people who formerly worked in very senior positions in An Garda Síochána cannot answer questions about who was responsible for what, that concerns me. If Mr. Dunne cannot answer the question, perhaps somebody else might. Can Mr. Ó Cualáin answer the question?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr. Kelly reports to me. That is the reporting line. In terms of any issue Mr. Kelly has in the provision of documentation related to any of his work or difficulties he might have in obtaining information, I have made it quite clear to him that he is to let me know in order that I can ensure-----

With respect, we are talking about 2008.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

A copy of the report was sought. We heard Mr. Kelly's testimony. He did not get a copy of the report. He received a summary of a 2010 report in 2011, but he sought a copy the 2008 McGee report several times but never got it. I am asking a very straightforward, simple question. When he sought a copy of the report, who had responsibility to make sure he got it?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Whoever Mr. Kelly asked should have given him a copy of the report.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Whoever he asked should have given him a copy of the report.

Mr. Ó Cualáin is saying Mr. Culhane had that responsibility.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr. Kelly, as the internal auditor, can seek and is entitled to get any information he needs to pursue his work.

Mr. Ó Cualáin might be able to stick with me. In 2008 Mr. Culhane said the Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality and the Comptroller and Auditor General should be informed of the 2008 report. We now know that the Secretary General of the Department and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General were not informed at the time. When Mr. Culhane said the Secretary General of the Department and the Comptroller and Auditor General should be informed and that he would have informed his superiors of this, whose responsibility was it to ensure the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was informed?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Again, we have an audit committee on which someone of my rank always sits. That has been the case since the committee was established I believe in 2006. If Mr. Kelly made such recommendations, they would have passed through-----

It was not Mr. Kelly who stated it should happen but rather the head of the finance directorate who at the time was Mr. Culhane. He put it in writing to his superior that the Department and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General should be made aware of the situation but that did not happen. Who was responsible for making sure the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General was informed?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr. Culhane would have written to his line manager who at the time would have been the chief administrative officer.

Would it be the understanding of Mr. Dunne that it would have been the responsibility of the chief administrative officer to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General if Mr. Culhane, as he did, had written to the CAO at the time?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do not know what Mr. Culhane wrote to the Comptroller and Auditor General. If Mr. Culhane wrote to the Comptroller and Auditor General recommending that he do something, I expect that it was a decision of the CAO. It is not for the line manager, in any circumstance, to take instruction from a subordinate. I cannot see how it is anybody else's responsibility, given the recommendation made. I assume that is-----

Did Mr. Dunne read the internal audit report?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I did not.

That is incredible. Mr. Dunne has not read Mr. Kelly's internal audit report.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Mr. Kelly only supplied me with two pages.

Did Mr. Dunne ask for a copy of the report in advance of this meeting?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I did not.

Mr. Dunne is answering questions about his role and that of his predecessors in the office and has not even read the report we are discussing.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I was not asked to come to account for the role of my predecessor.

He is accountable for himself and the office he held.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

We are going to get to his role but Mr. Dunne has not read the interim audit report.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No.

Mr. Dunne did not ask for a copy before this meeting.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I got two pages from Mr. Kelly. He wrote to tell me that they were the only two pages that made reference to me. That is-----

I find that unacceptable.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It may be unacceptable, but it is true.

I am not saying it is not true. I am putting questions to Mr. Dunne fairly and when I put questions fairly, I expect to be given fair responses. All I am saying is I believe it is reasonable for a witness coming before the Committee of Public Accounts to at least have read the report which is the substance of what we are discussing. If he has not read it, it is reasonable for me to be concerned. Mr. Dunne can have his own view, which is his entitlement, but I have given mine. It is unacceptable. Can Mr. McCarthy help me out on who should have been informed-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Can I respond to that question? What I was referring to was an email to me from Mr. Niall Kelly, dated 27 September 2016. It stated: "In regard to providing you with more than the extracts provided [the two pages] I am not sure whether you are requesting a full copy of the report. Other than the extracts provided there are no other sections of the report relevant to yourself. Perhaps we could also discuss this at our meeting". I have been informed very clearly that there are two extracts relevant to me. I have come to the committee to help it and give an account, but to be then expected to account for something in an internal audit report which the internal auditor has said does not refer to me is not reasonable. That is-----

I am not asking Mr. Dunne to do that. I am saying that, in my view, he should have read the report. We can disagree on that point.

What date was on it?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I subsequently received a letter, dated February 2017, which stated: "In response to our telephone conversation and other correspondence related to the Garda College audit report and taking on board the points raised by you I have made the attached changes to the section of the report that concerns your actions in relation to the issues". Again, that refers to two paragraphs in the report.

I thank Mr. Dunne.

To be helpful, we are not in possession of the document from which Mr. Dunne is reading. If he has a moment, we will ask somebody to take a photocopy in order that it can be circulated. I am trying to understand the sequence. There was a draft report produced and Mr. Dunne was asked for his comments on aspects of the section relevant to him before it was finalised.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

I want to understand the process. Perhaps somebody might take the correspondence and photocopy it. Would that be in order?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Absolutely.

We have not seen it. I thank Mr. Dunne.

I will turn to Mr. McCarthy. We are at the stage in 2008 where Mr. Culhane has notified his superior that the Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality should be informed and that Mr. McCarthy's office should be informed. He will have heard his testimony in the past. We now know that did not happen. Mr. McCarthy has heard from Mr. Dunne as well. I am trying to establish what the process should have been and who was responsible for actioning that call for Mr. Culhane to make sure the Comptroller and Auditor General's office was informed. What is Mr. McCarthy's understanding? What would he have expected?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

My understanding is that the recommendation was submitted up the line in An Garda Síochána and that it went to the Commissioner and that the Commissioner agreed to my office being informed. I cannot remember if he agreed to the Secretary General being informed, but it did not happen thereafter.

This was a letter from the CAO to the Commissioner and the Commissioner at the time knew of the issues. He notes the areas of concern in the former CAO's letter and then says the Comptroller and Auditor General should be informed. Who then had responsibility for informing Mr. McCarthy's office at that point?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

It is not clear to me who would have had responsibility but there would have been a direction of the Commissioner I assume. A number of persons could have informed-----

Can Mr. Ó Cualáin enlighten us?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

There might not have been a specific direction from the Commissioner. I know it was Commissioner Murphy who directed that certain things be done at that time. I am not sure of the exact date of it but Commissioner Murphy at the time directed that back out to one of the deputy Commissioners or the CAO to have that matter looked after.

Who had responsibility for informing the Comptroller and Auditor General's office specifically? Is Mr. Ó Cualáin saying a direction was given by the Commissioner to the CAO? Would that have been the chain of command if that happened?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

It could have gone to either the CAO or the deputy Commissioner of strategy and change management at the time.

So the deputy commissioner of strategy and change management possibly was the office that would have been informed.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

"We have made a decision to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General and this needs to be done".

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes, because that deputy commissioner would have sat on the internal audit committee.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Obviously not.

Why in Mr. Ó Cualáin's view was it not done?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I have no idea; I cannot answer that question.

That is a pattern that has emerged. Nobody seems to know why all of these things did not happen but we will get to that another day. With regard to process, Mr. Ó Cualáin is saying the Commissioner made a decision, and the executive director of change management possibly had responsibility or the CAO, although he is not sure.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

The deputy commissioner on my side of the house, which was called strategy and change management then, sat on the internal audit committee and I would-----

But it did not happen.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

It is clear that it did not.

Mr. Kelly said that in 2011 he got a summary of Mr. Nolan's 2010 report and he did not get the full report. He received a letter from the CAO at the time with a handwritten footnote from the Commissioner. He was given certain assurances that changes would be made, recommendations would be implemented and he removed a vital paragraph from his 2011 report. Is Mr. Ó Cualáin aware of that?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes, the interim audit report outlines that.

Is Mr. Ó Cualáin aware that when Mr. Kelly appeared before the committee he stated that he regretted the fact that he removed that paragraph?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

That is what he stated.

Is Mr. Ó Cualáin also aware that he said that he felt duped about that paragraph? He took assurances at face value and he felt duped.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I am aware of that being stated.

Given what Mr. Ó Cualáin now knows, does he agree that Mr. Kelly was duped?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

It is a matter of interpretation for Mr. Kelly. I cannot get into the mindset of the people who were then in office and who were making those decisions. What is clear to me having studied the historical aspect of what has developed is that there was lots of work and many reports being carried out and certain interpretations were being taken of-----

Does Mr. Ó Cualáin agree that in any organisation, especially An Garda Síochána, one would not expect the head of internal audit to feel duped at any time and that would be a red line issue? Internal audit staff should not at any time feel duped and they should get full co-operation. Would he accept at least that if that was the view of the head of internal audit, that was a problem?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I would absolutely, yes.

Assurances were given in the Commissioner's footnote in 2011. Those recommendations were not implemented. Who had responsibility for implementing them?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Again, it would depend on what type of recommendation it was.

With respect, Mr. Ó Cualáin has read the report and he understands the issues intimately. He knows exactly what letter I am talking about. This was sent to Mr. Kelly by the CAO with a footnote from the Commissioner. Mr. Ó Cualáin is intimately aware of the letter and of the report in which recommendations were made. We discussed this with the Commissioner and she was unable to tell us why the recommendations were not implemented. Further examination is being undertaken. I am not asking about why there were not implemented; I am asking who was responsible.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

The deputy commissioner of strategy and change management. That was the side of the house that would have been given that-----

Would it have been only the deputy commissioner or would other people in the organisation have been responsible?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

At that level of the organisation, all the other functions fall out. Each deputy commissioner has responsibility for a number of issues, as has the CAO. On the operational front, which is headed by Deputy Commissioner Twomey at the moment, that is purely operational and operational issues go in there to be dealt with.

I imagine Mr. McCabe and Ms McMahon who were responsible for the day-to-day management of the Garda Training College would have had a role in implementing the recommendations.

Mr. Pat McCabe

No. I was in the college at the time but I did not see that report and I had no involvement in its implementation.

Mr. McCabe was in the training college at the time but he did not even see the report. What was his position?

Mr. Pat McCabe

I had responsibility for crime investigation training and administration.

Turning to Mr. Dunne, we got a note, which I gave to the secretariat, of the second meeting of the steering group. It came from the head of legal, Mr. Ruane. It says that on 6 July 2015 the executive director of human resources, Mr. Barrett, delivered a report to the CAO and that the report was to be given to the audit committee in July of that year. Why was that report commissioned?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I asked Mr. Barrett to prepare a summary of the issues as he knew them at that point in time for me.

For what purpose?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

So that I could understand what the issues were. I also considered whether it was appropriate at that point to bring the audit committee into play. I decided that it was not at that point in July and that it was more appropriate to wait until the September meeting. The reason for that was, as I read the report, it was clear to me that an awful lot of information was missing. Second, I would not have been in a position to answer the simplest question about the report and there was no corroborating evidence at that point in time so-----

What we know from the internal audit reports, which Mr. Dunne has not read, is that internal audit is quite critical of him in that regard. When Mr. Barrett was before the committee, he was also quite critical because his view is that Mr. Dunne should have informed the audit committee in July. Mr. Dunne briefed the committee at the September meeting under any other business.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

A copy of the report was not circulated to members in advance. When Mr. Ó Cualáin appeared before the committee previously, I asked him about that and he said that it was his understanding that the comprehensive briefing was given at the September internal audit committee meeting. That was his view of the minutes. He was not at the meeting but that was his view. Mr. Howard, who was subsequently before the committee said:

There was a very busy agenda that day and at the end of the meeting, this was raised verbally as an AOB item. There was no briefing given to us. I have reflected on how I will phrase this. Neither I nor any of the other outside members of the committee took from that briefing any sense of importance of this issue as it subsequently emerged. Ultimately, this issue was so serious that the Accounting Officer had to amend a statement of internal financial control. I do not believe that has happened before on the Garda Vote so, objectively speaking, this was a very serious issue. It was raised, we discussed it a bit and we were asked if we would include it in the 2016 programme of work, which was done. That was Mr. Kelly's report at that time but no indication was given to us that this was different.

He went to say that he got no understanding of the seriousness of the issues.

That does not chime with Mr. Ó Cualáin's reading of the minutes, or does it? I refer to Mr. Howard's statement to the committee.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

All I can say is I was not at that meeting.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

In preparation to take up my position on that committee I would have read over all of the minutes and notes.

Mr. Ó Cualáin was not at the meeting.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

No. I would have spoken to Mr.-----

But Mr. Ó Cualáin has now heard from Mr. Howard who was at the meeting.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

Mr. Howard is chairman of the committee.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

That is his view and Mr. Ó Cualáin has heard it.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

From my reading of the minutes-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I can come back to that matter.

I will get to Mr. Dunne.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I can help.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Having looked at the minutes and sat on the committee for over 12 months and from the detailed notes in the minutes, it appears to me that a very comprehensive briefing was given by Mr. Dunne on that day because that is what is reflected in the minutes and what was agreed at the following meeting. That is my interpretation of what he said.

Before I get to Mr. Ó Cualáin about the matter, I have one last question for Mr. Dunne because it mirrors very much what happened at the internal audit committee meeting. Further down the note that can be viewed on the screen there is an account of what he said. It reads: "The CAO wished to make it very clear that there is no basis to suggest any misappropriation or mishandling, fraud or otherwise or any suggestion of inappropriate activity." Mr. Dunne said at the steering group that he could not see if the notes had been corrected, but he has said he could not see "any suggestion of inappropriate activity," yet when she was here the Garda Commissioner accepted the findings made in the report and that there had been financial irregularities. At the second meeting of the steering group the CAO stated, if the note is correct, that he saw "no basis to suggest any misappropriation or mishandling, fraud or otherwise," even though Mr. Kelly has said he could not give those assurances and had to keep an open mind. The note further stated, "or any suggestion of inappropriate activity," which I find staggering. Will Mr. Dunne explain to the committee how he felt at the time, given what he knew that he could not see "any inappropriate activity"?

Once Mr. Dunne concludes, it will be the turn of Deputy Catherine Murphy. Deputy Cullinane can come back in again later.

I thank the Chairman.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Going back to the first point about which Deputy David Cullinane talked - the meeting of the audit committee and whether there was an appropriate briefing - I actually have the minute which I can read:

The CAO, Mr. Cyril Dunne raised an ... issue in relation to the administration at the Garda College and numerous bank accounts set up in its name.

The CAO has been charged with putting an internal working group together to look at issues of administration in the Garda College. Some previous actions identified haven’t yet been completed. All sections will be involved; Strategy and Change Management; Finance etc. A representative from the Department of Justice and Equality has been invited to ensure visibility. The Attorney General’s office has been consulted in relation to possible legal issues.

Issues could potentially go back as far as the 1960’s to the foundation of the college. It is important to ensure that any accounting issues get regularised in this financial year. This will also put a demand on the resources of GIAS [the group internal audit] and needs to be factored into the 2016 Audit Plan.

There was a general discussion among the committee members and the following matters were raised:

. Is the Garda College a legal entity?

. What is the legal status of the college restaurant?

. Is the Garda College a limited company?

. The Commissioner’s right to own property

The CAO stressed the importance that any legal issues need to be clarified before GIAS can conduct an audit or review. The following areas need to be examined:

. Accounts

. Land owned by OPW

. Title of the land

. Leases

. Employee contracts – legal advice needed

. The Sportsfield Company – does it come under the direction / control of the Garda College?

It was agreed that this is a very complex matter and there are sensitivities surrounding this issue; reputation is important and timeframes, security of employment are very sensitive areas.

The Committee noted the demands that are likely to be placed on Internal Audit during 2016 and asked to be kept informed of developments in this matter.

No, Deputy; we are moving on.

I wish to make a final point.

No; we have gone five minutes over time. Have we got the document?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

You do, yes.

It was in September.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

We have the document. I thank Mr. Dunne.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is dated 30 September.

Deputy David Cullinane can come back in later, but he has gone way over time.

I will start with Mr. McGee who jointly authored a report in 2008. Is that correct?

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes.

Has Mr. McGee read the most recent internal audit report?

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes, I have.

Did he see much of what he identified in 2008 represented in the report?

Mr. Barry McGee

The same type of structure is there in terms of the issues involved. There have been some recommendations in the intervening period.

After Mr. McGee wrote the report in 2008, what did he expect to occur? Did he expect all of his recommendations to be taken on board? His report contained serious stuff about the Sportsfield account and the restaurant and all of the things that have subsequently emerged. He talked about the Companies Act. He flagged a number of things that have subsequently brought the college in Templemore into significant disrepute, which is a fair representation.

Mr. Barry McGee

I wish to be clear and the following is my thinking on the matter. First, it is not my report, although I know that it has been referenced as the McGee report.

That is fair.

Mr. Barry McGee

It has been used in the media as a reference. I am not even sure how the report came to be a reference because straight off I was a member of staff in the finance directorate. I was an assistant accountant at HEO level. Obviously, I was tasked to do this work by the executive director, Mr. Michael Culhane. The start of the report came from the CAO. It was the CAO who had requested the review to be undertaken based on his observations. Essentially, in my mind, this was a report for the CAO and that was the purpose.

Mr. Barry McGee

It was a review to be undertaken of general financial structures.

To whom was the report delivered?

Mr. Barry McGee

To my line manager.

Mr. Barry McGee

The executive director, Mr. Michael Culhane. I was part of a team also and there was also supervision. Obviously, I finalised the report.

I wanted to establish these facts first.

I will move on to discuss two items of correspondence, the first of which is dated 24 October 2015 from Mr. Michael Culhane to the deputy commissioner of operations. I presume it is the deputy commissioner of strategy and change management, SCM, and the chief administrative officer. The second document is from Mr. Dunne. It is a file note on the one-to-one meeting with John Barrett re the finances at Templemore. Very serious matters were identified in the report of 2008, restated in 2010 and are now the subject of the internal audit report we have received, which is what we are discussing. I refer to the two particular documents. Mr. Barrett was the subject of both the minute and the letter.

Some of the references in the note are quite shocking and show a mindset of containment. It reads: "I had got feedback that he had told Barry that he was not happy with the way I was approaching the issue." That refers to Cyril Dunne and John Barrett. The note continueds: "Barry had told him he was feeling under pressure over the report he had produced in 2008". That refers to Mr. McGee.

Is there a reference number on the document?

Yes. It is DE0103GCT, pages 1 and 2.

I ask everyone referring to a document to give us its reference number so we can get it on screen.

In fact, it might be PAC 32R575.

We will see if we can get that on screen.

I might be wrong in my reading of it. If I am, the witness might help us. It seems to me to be about having a real problem with Mr. Barrett in relation to his approach to the report. Can Mr. Dunne expand on that first?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The context of that file note is important to understand. This was a letter written from Mr. Culhane to the Commissioner, each of the acting deputy commissioners and myself. He was making what seemed to be a complaint about Mr. Barrett. I think that letter is available to the committee.

That is the one I wanted to refer to. I might do that now. That is PAC 32R575. Within that report, it asks whether in collecting all of this confidential material and posting it to his own home address "JB" is guilty of a criminal offence under the Official Secrets Act and suggests the Commissioner might wish to initiate a formal investigation of "JB's" activities under the Act as his intent may appear to be to cause damage to An Garda Síochána either through unauthorised disclosures or leaks to the press. This was written by Mr. Culhane to the Commissioner, the deputy commissioner in charge of operations, the deputy commissioner in charge of change management and the chief administrative officer. Mr. Dunne is responding to that. It seems to imply that the real problem was not what was happening in Templemore but was rather Mr. Barrett. That is how I read that. I will leave Mr. Dunne to come back to me on that. That context makes it very serious.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I agree with Deputy Murphy that that was the sentiment in that letter from Mr. Culhane. In that letter to me, it was clear that he had issues with Mr. Barrett. The relationship between Mr. Culhane and Mr. Barrett - and it was probably evident even at this committee - has not been strong. That letter was sent to me, the Commissioner and the deputy commissioners, separately. When I got it, my first reaction was actually to talk to John Barrett, which I did. That is the note to which Deputy Murphy is referring. I did not tell him I got a letter because I felt that would pour fuel on the fire of a relationship that was not good but I told him, as is basically set out in the note, that I had got what I called "feedback". I referred to what Mr. Culhane had said about meeting with Mr. McGee. I say it here, which is what happened. I reminded John that we, John and I, had always been open with each other that we had different approaches to trying to solve this problem. We were quite open about that between us.

Can I stop Mr. Dunne there? He said they had different approaches to solving this problem. Mr. Barrett's approach and that of others was that it should be referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General, that it should be a section 41 matter and that it should not be maintained in house. What was Mr. Dunne's view?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The exact same except my view was that we needed to get a lot more information than we had at that point in time. The differences would have been-----

It was "Report it but not just yet".

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct, if the Deputy sees what I actually did. Mr. Barrett's view was that with the level of information we had we should go straight to the audit committee on 15 July. My view was that it was obvious to me that there was a whole load of information that we did not have. We had two reports at that stage. There was the report generated through Mr. McGee's work and then a subsequent review of that. There were two pieces of documentation that we had. It was clear to me that there were reams of documentation that must be there. I wanted to find yet more information before we elevated it up.

Does Mr. Dunne regret taking that approach at this stage?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Not at all, actually, because when I look at the outcome, it is exactly as we would have wanted it to be. The issues got aired, the information has been established, we have had an internal audit and we are having a review by the PAC. That is exactly as I laid it out in the minute to the audit committee in September. The only difference is whether we went on 15 July, which was John's view and with which I did not agree, or whether we initiated engagement with the audit committee in September.

Did Mr. Dunne not feel he had an obligation immediately when he identified something as serious as the issues identified? Did he not think there was an obligation to make sure the relevant people like the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Minister were immediately told of the information?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Actually no, because there is a responsibility to give a complete account. What was clear to me was that it was far from complete. My view, which I still believe to be the correct view, was that we needed to get a lot more information before we would be able to report in particular to the Department. That is what we did. We immediately set out to do two things. One was what I describe as the "No regret" move, which would be implementing the recommendations that had been made back in 2008. It was to start to do those because there was no reason we would not.

I have very limited time.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I beg the Deputy's pardon, but she needs to understand how my decisioning happened.

I ask the Comptroller what the legal obligation is in relation to disclosure when things are discovered. Was that an appropriate approach? Is that how it should have occurred?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

I think I would take a different view to Mr. Dunne. In my view, a matter of this nature and this seriousness should be raised immediately with the audit committee in the first instance and the audit committee should have been involved in the decision making and in advising the Commissioner on an approach and the provision of information to my office. I would have expected to know quite soon, but the first step, given the seriousness of the matters which I think was evident around July, was that the audit committee should definitely have been involved at that stage.

The internal audit reports to Mr. Ó Cualáin.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

That is correct.

I know he was not in the position continuously from 2008 on. He is recent enough.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Absolutely not. I was put into that position in an interim capacity in July 2014. I was also in charge of the western region at that time so I was doing two jobs. A colleague of mine, Assistant Commissioner Kieran Kenny, shared the deputy commissioner portfolio with me, which was split. He took some matters and I took others.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

That remained the position until October 2015 when I was promoted and formally appointed into that position.

One of the things that is jumping out at me was asked of the Commissioner at one point also about any kind of a breach of law.

Does Mr. Ó Cualáin have concerns that there have been offences committed?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I first heard about this matter in July 2015 when all members of the executive were being briefed by Mr. Dunne in the Garda College. All of us were immediately concerned that there might be criminality in that regard and we wanted to find out whether that was the case, but nothing was found to suggest it was. When Mr. Kelly published his interim audit report, he could not state there was criminality.

Is that still the case?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

Further audits are taking place.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I cannot predict what that work will uncover.

Does Mr. Ó Cualáin have fears about it?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Of course. One always has concerns.

Other than the internal audit, are investigations into any of these matters taking place?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr. Kelly has continued with his interim audit. He wants to pursue a number of lines for the timeline previous to the one at which that he looked. He also wants to go into more detail on some of the aspects he found.

Can I be very specific with Mr. Ó Cualáin?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

I asked last week if funds had been transferred to a Dublin account under the control of a former senior garda. Mr. Kelly said he would prefer not to comment on that matter because internal audits were ongoing.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

Is anything in that arena - I will be that specific about it - the subject of further inquiries other than the internal audit?

That is the Deputy's final question.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Mr. Kelly is making all of those inquiries. As soon as he can report back to the Commissioner on progress in that regard, that will dictate the next stages of whatever emerges.

Every time I sit here, I have more questions. I probably have hundreds of questions that we will not get through. Therefore, I will have to prioritise. I might have to write to some witnesses through the Chair at a later stage because there is no way I will get through all of the contradictions. I remind witnesses that this is the Committee of Public Accounts. They should bear this in mind when giving their answers. A report will be produced as a consequence of this process and it is highly likely that this issue will be dealt with in another forum afterwards. I ask the witnesses to bear that in mind. Will Mr. Dunne clarify whether he will be here for the full hearing today?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I will be here this morning.

We should have discussed that issue beforehand. Why will Mr. Dunne not be present this afternoon?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

When I was contacted on 26 May, I was asked to be here from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I received a note yesterday stating things had changed.

A new Taoiseach is being elected today.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Unfortunately, I am not available this afternoon.

Why is Mr. Dunne not available?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Just because it is late notice and I have other commitments.

This is the Committee of Public Accounts and this is one of the biggest controversies in Ireland in which Mr. Dunne is a central figure. He is probably one of the most important figures. As such I ask him to reconsider his commitments and rearrange his diary as otherwise, we will probably have to bring him in again. I ask him to reconsider immediately as there is no way we are going to get through all of the questions to him in one sitting.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

I ask Mr. Dunne to consider carefully.

I ask Mr. Dunne to respond. Is it possible for him to make a telephone call to postpone his commitment this afternoon? Today's Dáil business has changed without-----

Unfortunately, we have no control over the election of the next Taoiseach.

I ask Mr. Dunne to make arrangements to assist our efforts to complete our work.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I will see if I can.

That would be appreciated.

We are asking Mr. Dunne to try to do so as it would be better if we could conclude the issue today.

I find it fascinating that Mr. Dunne has not read the audit report, to which he is central because of his role in the organisation. He has had a very interesting career. I have looked it all up and, frankly, find it unbelievable that he has not looked through the audit report. I will ask a few questions to kick off. I have a lot of questions for everyone but particularly Mr. Dunne.

I will begin with a standard question that I asked at our last meeting. The witnesses probably know it is coming. As Mr. Nugent has already answered it, he can avoid doing so again. It does not apply to the officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Mr. Dunne can escape it too, but I will put it to him in a different context. Given the evidence we have heard, do all of those currently in the organisation have 100% full confidence in every member of the management team across the board at the highest level of the organisation? If anyone has a conditional answer, I ask him or her to set it out now. It is a very important question for each and every witness.

I would like to ask about the role of senior Garda management. The witnesses will be aware that we all have to adhere diligently to the standards in public office procedures. Have they all met their requirements under the Standards in Public Office Act since its introduction? If any of them has not done so, or if any of them has issues, I ask him or her to mention it now.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Can I speak at this point?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I remain a director of the Garda College Sportsfield Company. I took up that role in 2011 when I had management of the Garda College as an additional responsibility. The Garda College Sportsfield Company is not a trading company and does not have share capital. I am a director of the company by virtue of my role in An Garda Síochána, not as Anne Marie McMahon. My role in the company-----

Ms McMahon is a director as "Anne Marie McMahon". There has to be a name.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes, I am but not as an individual. I am there by virtue of my role as a chief superintendent.

I understand that, but Ms McMahon is listed as a director in her own name.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Correct. The role-----

Directors do not go by titles but by name.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

It is important to say for the record to I am a director because of my role.

I understand that.

Ms McMahon is making a statement.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

My role as a director of the company does not have a material impact on my role as a member of An Garda Síochána at chief superintendent rank, or any other rank. As it happens, my role is at chief superintendent rank. On that basis, I did not submit a return to the standards in public office committee. However, I took on board what Mr. Niall Kelly had recommended in his report, which was that each director should retrospectively make a declaration. I have done so.

Let us be clear. Everyone here has met his or her standards in public office requirements during the years, with the exception of Ms McMahon. Was she not meant to meet requirements in her position?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Only if I had something to declare.

Should Ms McMahon not have made a null declaration?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No.

Fine. As a director, Ms McMahon did not make any standards in public office submission.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No, I did not and I have outlined the reason to the committee. My role as a director did not have a material impact on my role as a chief superintendent of An Garda Síochána.

Did Ms McMahon seek legal clarification?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes, informally.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

From an assistant commissioner, Mr. Eugene Corcoran, who is a qualified barrister.

Was it in writing?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No.

On what date?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I had a couple of conversations with him, the most recent of which was in the past week.

Ms McMahon can come back to us on the issue. I do not expect her to know the date off the top of her head. I ask her to write to the committee to tell us when she received this advice.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes, certainly.

For the purposes of clarity, do I understand correctly that, as a director of Garda College Sportsfield Company Limited, Ms McMahon did not submit standards in public office documentation because she had received informal legal advice that she did not need to do so?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes.

That is fair enough.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I have done it retrospectively.

I wish we could all receive that advice but we cannot.

We are different.

We are always very different. We know that. It is amazing, is it not?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

It is very important for me to emphasise that I acted as a director of the company solely in the context of my role and station at that time.

I understand.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I had no personal interest in it. I had not invested in it in any way. I gained no benefit from it - good, bad or indifferent. In fact, I have no interest in continuing as a director of the company.

I have a limited amount of time and would appreciate it if Ms McMahon answered my questions.

Is Ms McMahon okay with the answer she has given?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I think it is important that I clarify my position in relation to the directorship. I am still a director; I want to get out of it but I cannot-----

If Ms McMahon wants to resign, she should write to the CRO and tell it, "I'm gone". I do not know but-----

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I have been asked by Mr. Nugent to remain as a director until such time as the company is wound up. This is a process that I started in 2013 but from my point of view, I do not want to be a director of the Sportsfield company.

Ms McMahon is caught in a bind, basically.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes.

I can appreciate that. To be fair though, it is slightly irrelevant. I accept that Ms McMahon had no material interest in the company but there are lots of people who are directors of companies who have no material interest in them but they still have to abide by what is legal. Obviously, in Ms McMahon's situation, she does not have a material interest but she did not adhere to the requirements of the law because she got informal legal advice. I am not legally qualified but I do know about the standards in public office legislation. For me, it does not stand up that a director of a company at the level of Ms McMahon would not meet those legal requirements. I know that Ms McMahon is in a bind and I appreciate the situation in which she finds herself. I appreciate that there must be a director and I understand Mr. Nugent wrote to her in that capacity because somebody has to be a director, or at least the organisation believes that somebody has to be a director. However, there are requirements that must be met under law and they have not been met.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

With respect Deputy, I outlined that my role as a director did not materially influence my role-----

I am sorry, but that is irrelevant-----

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

-----as a member of An Garda Síochána.

That is absolutely irrelevant. We could all be directors of a company and have no material interest in it but we would still have to meet the requirements of law. Ms McMahon is an assistant commissioner.

Did Mr. Dunne meet all of the requirements in his role as CEO?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

I know Mr. Nugent is going to get back to us by Friday regarding the scan of the organisation in the context of the standards in public office legislation. I presume that the witnesses are aware that as senior members of An Garda Síochána they are not allowed to be company directors and are not allowed to own lands. In that context, why did Ms McMahon agree to become a director?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

If I can go backwards before I-----

I accept that there were lots of others before Ms McMahon but unfortunately for her, she is the person who is currently in situ. That is the only reason she is being asked these questions.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I appreciate that.

It is nothing personal.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

The company was set up in 1993. The purpose of setting up the company was to develop sports facilities for student gardaí in particular, following the recommendations of the Walsh report. I cannot second guess the rationale of those people who set up the company. The first directors were a deputy commissioner, an assistant commissioner and a representative of all of the ranks in An Garda Síochána. The rationale for setting up the company was to develop sports facilities. When the 2005 Act came into being, there were some questions around the Commissioner owning land and so forth. The organisation's legal advisor at the time, Ms Marie-Claire Maney, gave advice to the effect that the Sportsfield company was in existence prior to the enactment of the 2005 Act and that the legislation did not retrospectively apply. That was the position and the company remained in being.

As I have already outlined, I went to the Garda college in 2011. During my initial period of time at the college I was focused on a wind-down or de-scaling of the operation and there were several iterations of that as the country went deeper into recession. In or around the middle of 2013, I began examining the Sportsfield company and related matters. I was concerned, very much in line with the Deputy's question, as to the role members of An Garda Síochána were playing in terms of being directors of the company and so forth. I initiated a process, the aim of which was to wind up the Sportsfield company and to bring the lands into the ownership of the OPW and I called a meeting in relation to that. I believe the committee has documentation relating to various meetings-----

I am short on time, so I would ask Ms McMahon to-----

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

The Deputy asked why I am a director. It is a role that I was-----

When did the company last file a tax return?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

In 2015. That is my understanding and the returns are being compiled at the moment for the intervening years. The Deputy must remember-----

Hold on a moment, I am sorry to interrupt but we are under particular time constraints today and I still have about 17,000 questions to put to Mr. Dunne. What does Ms McMahon mean by "intervening years"? Is she saying that there were no tax returns filed for many years?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No, just for two years.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

2015 and 2016.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

If I can just explain to the committee - and this is not an excuse, by the way, but the reality of the situation - that of the current directors of the company, all but one are no longer in the Garda college. They have been transferred to various locations. That is something that has impacted on the very question that the Deputy has raised. It is not an excuse but it is the reality of the situation.

So, the company has not filed tax returns for a number of years.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

They are being compiled currently.

So they were not done on time.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

They were not done on time, no.

This is An Garda Síochána we are talking about.

When does Ms McMahon expect that will be completed?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

In a number of weeks.

Mr. Nugent wrote to us on that issue last week, regarding five tax numbers. I am just putting that on the record. I invite Mr. Nugent to say publicly that he is not in a position to confirm compliance, as per that letter. I ask Mr. Nugent to clarify the contents of that letter because it might not be on the public record yet.

Mr. Joseph Nugent

There are five tax numbers for the purposes of administration. At the outset we included the main Garda tax number, not because of any concerns in relation to compliance but to ensure that in our dealings with the Revenue Commissioners they could see that we were taking responsibility for the other four tax entities. I just want to say that up front. The discussions we are having with the Revenue Commissioners relate to the other four tax entities and whether tax liability applies in each of those circumstances. We have engaged a tax expert to work with us on that and are in discussions with the Revenue Commissioners at present. I am not trying to be evasive with the committee. We will clearly reach a conclusion and a determination with the Revenue Commissioners which will be brought to the attention of the Comptroller and Auditor General forthwith. We are literally in the process of discussions. I am conscious of saying something that might prejudice or jeopardise those discussions but no more than that. I am more than happy to provide details to the committee at the appropriate point.

Can Mr. Nugent say today whether An Garda Síochána-----

Mr. Joseph Nugent

An Garda Síochána, as an organisation, is tax compliant.

It is tax compliant.

Mr. Joseph Nugent

Yes.

I apologise to Deputy Kelly for cutting across him.

I hope the Chairman stopped the clock.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Could I make a point please? In terms of the Sportsfield company, while the accounts are currently being compiled for 2015 and 2016, the Garda Sportsfield company as an entity has charitable status, so no tax liability applies.

I appreciate that. My next question is directed at Ms McMahon, Mr. McCabe, Ms Nugent and Mr. Ó Cualáin, four serving gardaí. To their knowledge, were funds from the laundry, restaurant or bar accounts ever used by any garda for personal purposes?

Mr. Joseph Nugent

I am not aware of that, Deputy.

I am not asking Mr. Nugent.

Mr. Joseph Nugent

Apologies, I thought that question was for me.

No, I meant it for Ms Nugent and the other three witnesses.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I am not aware of that; certainly not for personal use.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No, neither am I.

Mr. Pat McCabe

No.

Ms Margaret Nugent

No.

Were any payments of expenses - possibly even legitimate expenses - made from the revenue generated from the restaurant or bar facilities? Were any expenses ever paid from those funds rather than from the Garda Vote?

I direct that question to the same four people.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I am not aware of that.

Ms Margaret Nugent

I am not-----

Can the witness speak up?

Ms Margaret Nugent

I am not aware of that. I took up my position on 4 August 2016.

I know that. Okay, fine. Mr. McCabe might answer that question.

Mr. Pat McCabe

No.

Just for the purposes of clarity because there is a huge amount of information on this, millions of euro were generated in revenue and what we are hearing today is that no expenses were ever paid from that revenue, which, to me, is incredible. I direct the following question to the same four people. Are they aware if any garda ever gained personally from funds through the Garda College, EU or CPOL accounts? I presume the answer they will all give is "No". Is it?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

No.

Okay. I hope Mr. Dunne will be here with us in the afternoon as I will not get through all my questions.

We will be moving on.

I know but, in fairness, the Chairman took up a lot of my time.

I know. The Deputy is still well over his time.

I want to move to some very specific questions.

I hope we will all get the same latitude.

A meeting took place on 2 July which Mr. Dunne called, the purpose of which was to discuss the issues in relation to what was happening in the Garda College. There were a number of people in attendance at that meeting and I believe Ms McMahon was in attendance. We have heard from Mr. Barrett and Mr. Culhane, who agreed on evidence, that this was the committee that was set up to discuss what was happening in Templemore. We also heard in evidence from Mr. Ruane and Mr. Barrett that Mr. Dunne had briefed the Commissioner on 30 June of the issues in regard to Templemore. Is that not correct?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Going back to the number of points the Deputy made, there was a meeting, and I think there may have been even more than one meeting during July. That was not a meeting of the working group.

What was it so?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That was a meeting that I asked to be set up after Mr. John Barrett had briefed me about the 2008-----

Mr. Dunne is aware that two members who were in attendance at that meeting said it was a meeting of the working group.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I am not actually.

If Mr. Dunne had followed the proceedings from two weeks ago, he would have known that.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

As I said earlier, I have not been following-----

That is incredible. I am not kidding Mr. Dunne in saying that he is the fulcrum around which much of this has happened. The fact that he has not been following the proceedings does not stand up to any "believability", if that is even a word.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I have a full-time job, to which-----

I know Mr. Dunne has a full-time job.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----I am fully committed.

I know Mr. Dunne's organisation well. I used to be a-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

If the Deputy knows the organisation, he will know it has been dealing with some significant challenges.

I am well aware of that.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

My focus has been on that, not on the proceedings here.

The interim audit report covers the time period from 2006 to 2016. It directly critiques Mr. Dunne's work. He was mentioned specifically in relation to actions that he did not carry out. He is appearing before this committee and he has not only not gone through the transcripts of previous sittings but he has not even read the report in which he is critiqued. We have a responsibility to put questions to him. The fact that he has not read that report shows that he is treating us with contempt. Quite frankly-----

We are not going to draw conclusions. The witness was asked a question and that was Deputy Kelly's last question. I will get back to the Deputy Cullinane before we suspend for the break.

I have to finish this question and I have one further question. A committee was set up at which two witnesses, the head of finance and the head of human resource, HR, were in attendance on 2 July and Mr. Dunne is now saying that committee was not the one that was set up to look into the issues in Templemore.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Let me be very clear. In the last week of June, from memory, the issue was raised with me by Mr. John Barrett. The issue being the report that had been produced back in 2008. He had had various discussions with people in the college and had identified that the actions had not been completed at that stage, and he reported that to me.

Mr. Dunne asked him to write the report.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No. This was before the report, his report.

I know that, but Mr. Dunne did ask him to write it.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Okay. One of the things I did was I said that I needed to understand this and I said let us get down to the college, which we did, and we brought Mr. Michael Culhane down as well. We met and, from my memory, it was myself, Mr. John Barrett, and I think the assistant commissioner and Superintendent McCabe was there.

No. He was not. I have the notes here and, to be fair to him, he was not there.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Okay. I beg your pardon.

It does not matter-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The membership of that meeting is important because later that month the Commissioner asked that a working group be set up and specifically we were asked to include-----

When did Mr. Dunne inform the Commissioner of the issues in Templemore?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

In detail it was actually in-----

No. That is not what I asked. When did Mr. Dunne inform her that there were issues in Templemore?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I was thinking back through this morning before I came in here. Around the first week in July I told the Commissioner that Mr. John Barrett had raised issues with me. I did not detail any of those issues-----

He said it was on 30 June.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----and in the first week of July, what I am saying to the Deputy is that-----

There is a note on the 6th and a letter on 8th and that letter of the 8th was received by Mr. Dunne on the 9th.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Sorry, what?

There is a letter from Mr. John Barrett that Mr. Dunne received on 9th that he wrote on the 8th.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Right.

There is a note on 6 July-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Right.

-----and also a note on 30 June.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Right.

Mr. Dunne is saying now that he told the Commissioner of this on the first week in July.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That is my recollection of it.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That is my recollection. Just to be clear as to what I said to the Commissioner at that time, and this was in a context of a late evening discussion, around about the first week in July I told her that Mr. John Barrett had identified issues in Templemore and that I needed to get a lot more information. I told her that I would be going down to the college myself-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----and that I would brief her when I had more detail. That was my recollection.

Just to point out, that is a direct contradiction of the evidence given by two witnesses here on the last day, but the time is still before the Commissioner said she first found out about it from the letter on 24 July that was discussed on 27 July. That was Mr. Culhane, and I will come back to that. There is a direct contradiction in the evidence there with respect to that given by the other two people, but it still is evidence that indicates it was before the Commissioner said she knew. It is just it is a different date.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I think it is a different level of detail because I know the level of-----

No. In fairness, if the Commissioner comes in here and says one thing, and that is contradicted now three times-----

I am moving on. This is the Deputy's last question.

This is my last question. On 30 September they were these famous minutes. I am very interested in them. I ask Mr. Ó Cualáin who wrote them?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Ó Cualáin is my name.

Yes, but who wrote those minutes?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

The minutes for-----

Yes, for 30 September. What Garda was in the room who wrote them?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I was not there.

You were not-----

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

No. I did not attend that meeting. I was not on the internal audit------

Can Mr. Ó Cualáin find out who actually-----

To which document is the Deputy referring?

I am talking about the minutes of 30 September. Does Mr. Dunne know who wrote these minutes?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I think the secretary is probably listed on the attendance.

It does not indicate who is the secretary - yes, Garda Geraldine Greene. I wish to ask Mr. Dunne one question regarding these minutes and Mr. Ó Cualáin might want to reflect on these. Mr. Howard and Mr. Kelly, who were both at the meeting, said in evidence that with respect to the minutes of 30 September - we must remember that the internal auditor still did not know about this, he was told about it six months later in March 2016 - that there was a very brief discussion about Templemore, and we went through it in detail here. However, from the minutes of the meeting under the heading "any other business" it goes into quite a level of detail. How could that have been a brief discussion? Second, the font changes in the documentation. The font is changed. I want to know when these minutes were written and were they subsequently changed?

I ask Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin to find out that for this committee and subsequently come back to us. It is a complete contradiction. Mr. Howard and Mr. Kelly, the head of external audit and the internal auditor, who were both at the meeting, said there was a very brief discussion - we are talking about a couple of minutes - yet there are quite detailed notes in these minutes about what went on. That does not add up at all.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I was not on the internal audit committee at that time but all minutes of previous meetings are agreed at the following meeting, so the following meeting would have referred back to that set of minutes and it would have been agreed that they were accurate.

As I said, the internal and external auditors both said it was a very brief discussion. That is not what the minutes demonstrate.

I call Deputy Catherine Connolly.

It is very difficult for all of us in this environment. We are here as a public accounts committee. I just want to go back to the kernel. There is an internal audit carried out and no assurance that the financial controls of the Garda Síochána are compliant with the public financial procedures. Second, there is no assurance that the financial controls at the Garda college are compliant with the Garda finance code. Third, there is limited assurance that the financial controls at the Garda college are compliant. The fourth point concerns reasonable assurance regarding the staff cost. That is why we are here in relation to this. It is not possible to go into all the minutiae. This is not a court of law; it is a public accounts committee. I am looking at that and at various things. When did Mr. Dunne come into the organisation?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

In 2013.

From 2013 until 2015.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was April 2013 to the end of 2015.

We are here then in different rooms about the same committee, and we are looking at aspects. The Commissioner came out prematurely to say there were historical issues. It turns out they are not historical issues but ongoing issues. Is that not right? Does Mr. Dunne agree there are ongoing issues in relation to Templemore?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

There certainly were at the point in time in question, and I believe that there are still issues to be sorted out. At the point in time in question, in 2015, they were current issues and there were issues or recommendations that seem to have been accepted and which had not been implemented. They were current, therefore.

We have a situation where there are ongoing issues with Templemore. I have read where it was debated whether the Assistant Commissioner should be a director or not. I understand he is caught but what I am trying to get at is that there are ongoing issues. When the Commissioner talked about legacy issues, she jumped the gun. That is for the Commissioner to answer the next day when she is before us. We are here dealing with issues. A committee was set up, and then a steering group to implement the recommendations, so we should have been able to relax. Is that not right? On the basis of problems being identified, we should have been able to relax. Instead of that, Mr. Barrett told us on the last occasion he was before us that, only for him, there would be no investigation. I put a specific question to him. Would Mr. Dunne accept that, only for Mr. Barrett's persistence and note taking, this would not have come out in the manner it did?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I absolutely accept that if Mr. Barrett had not raised it, it would not have because it had gone invisible but I actually do not agree that it would not have been followed up. That was not my experience. If one looks at what was going on after Mr. Barrett's raising of the issue - I give him credit for it - one sees that we, An Garda Síochána, engaged with the Department to make sure that there was visibility there.

After Mr. Barrett raised it?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Absolutely.

Is Mr. Dunne accepting that, as a result of Mr. Barrett, this whole thing went forward?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Absolutely.

Mr. Barrett is of the opinion that he lost faith at some stage. He admits he had a good relationship. I have read the minutes and noted Mr. Dunne had an open relationship with him. He lost faith and started taking detailed notes. Is that not right?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

So he lost faith, somewhere in the system, that his concerns were being taken seriously. Does Mr. Dunne accept that?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do, and I think I know why.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was because one of the things that became apparent during this process was that Mr. Barrett had not been aware, or was not aware until, I believe, a number of weeks ago, that the audit committee had actually been briefed in September. What he knew was that he had an expectation it was going to be briefed in July. He knew that that did not happen. What seems clear to me now is that he did not realise - I am not putting this on Mr. Barrett; he had not been told - that the audit committee had been briefed in September and that there was visibility. I think he lost trust in me, actually, at that point in time. That is my sense of it.

I think he had lost trust before that because he was sending letters to Mr. Dunne in July 2015 raising matters, well before it went to the audit committee.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Going back to July, I had actually asked him------

Mr. Dunne asked him for a report following-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct, I did.

But following his initiation, following his coming forward.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct. Absolutely, yes.

I seek to reassure the public. Mr. McGee carried out a report in 2008 and has clarified that he did so under supervision and was reporting back. Subsequently, there was a detailed note in relation to Mr. Dunne and himself and a conversation. Will I refer to that and help his memory, or can he help me out? Does he remember it?

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes, please. Go ahead.

Apparently Mr. McGee was sitting minding his own business. Mr. Barrett approached him and asked him to talk to him in private.

Mr. Barry McGee

That is correct, yes.

Mr. McGee had a conversation with Mr. Barrett.

Mr. Barry McGee

That is correct.

Mr. McGee was worried and Mr. Barrett reassured him that his job was not at stake and that he appreciated Mr. McGee coming forward. He looked on Mr. McGee more as a whistleblower.

Mr. Barry McGee

To a degree, that is correct, but I did not have any worries in relation to my position.

Was Mr. McGee happy with Mr. Barrett when he spoke to him?

Mr. Barry McGee

Absolutely, yes.

With his bona fides.

Mr. Barry McGee

Sorry?

With Mr. Barrett's bona fides in raising matters. Was Mr. McGee happy when Mr. Barrett spoke to him that he was doing-----

Mr. Barry McGee

Absolutely.

Let me go to Mr. Dunne. I hate this but this is what is here. We have two documents from Mr. Dunne that have been referred to by one of my colleagues already. Mr. Dunne talked to Mr. Barrett and Mr. Culhane and he made a note of the two conversations.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct, after the letter-----

Did Mr. Dunne talk to Mr. McGee at all?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I did not.

Mr. Dunne put down things that Mr. Culhane has said about Mr. McGee but he did not talk to Mr. McGee.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

There was a letter, if the Deputy remembers, from-----

I do, yes. That is the background. Mr. Culhane wrote to the Commissioner-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Because of-----

-----who sent it to a lot of other people.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

And to myself.

Yes. A lot of people got a copy of that. Could Mr. Dunne explain that to us? He talked to Mr. Culhane.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I spoke to Mr. Culhane. I actually spoke to Mr. Barrett first because-----

I know all that and have the note. Mr. Dunne did not talk to Mr. McGee. That is what I am asking about.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I did not.

There was a complete conflict between what Mr. Culhane was saying about Mr. McGee and what Mr. Barrett was saying about Mr. McGee.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

What I did was ask Mr. Culhane what he wanted to do. There is a formal process to go through-----

No, there is no-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----if it were to be taken further. Let me just put it that way. I accepted what Mr. Barrett said and I asked Mr. Culhane whether he was raising a grievance against Mr. Barrett, in which case a grievance procedure would kick in. He did not-----

Just one second. With regard to 2 November 2015, Mr. Dunne said he told Mr. Barrett that he got feedback. Feedback was code for a serious letter that had gone to the Commissioner.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct. I did not tell Mr. Barrett that-----

It was not feedback; it was a letter.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

Mr. Dunne did not make Mr. Barrett aware of that very serious letter. He referred to it as feedback.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct

Mr. Dunne stated he told Mr. Barrett he got feedback over a meeting he had had with Barry McGee that he was concerned about and that he wanted to get his observations. Mr. Dunne stated he did not say the source or the nature of the feedback and so on.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

Mr. Dunne outlined what Mr. Barrett asked. Mr. Dunne stated he reminded Mr. Barrett of their differing views. We referred to all that already. He said that there had been a meeting between himself and Mr. McGee at Mr. McGee's request. Mr. Dunne stated Mr. McGee had told him he was feeling under pressure over the report he had produced in 2008.

Mr. Dunne stated that Mr. Barrett had told him that he had reassured Mr. McGee his job was safe. Mr. Dunne went on to caution Mr. Barrett about his documents and where he might be keeping them, such as in the car.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes, because there was an assertion in the letter that Mr. Barrett had been taking documents off site.

The secrecy breach. This has already been out in the open. The letter was written by Mr. Culhane to say that Mr. Barrett should be examined or that the Commissioner should consider an examination. That is the background. Mr. Dunne goes to Mr. Barrett but does not tell him about any of that. He relays some feedback from an unknown source to Mr. Barrett. Mr. Dunne then talks to Mr. Culhane on 3 November and reports that. This is a completely different version concerning Mr. McGee. The account was that he told him that Mr. McGee had come to him with concerns about what had transpired from the meeting with Mr. Barrett. They were all sitting down having something to eat when Mr. Barrett came along and asked Mr. McGee to go to a meeting. What Mr. Dunne records here is Mr. Culhane's version of that, which is that Mr. McGee was under pressure with regard to his meeting with Mr. Barrett. According to the account, Mr. Culhane was asked whether he wanted to raise a grievance against Mr. Barrett but he said "No". The account states that Mr. Culhane said he was mistrustful of Mr. Barrett, would not meet him on his own in the future and would be cautious regarding how he interacted with him. Here we are in 2015. There is a serious crisis in An Garda Síochána - an historical crisis, as the Commissioner puts it. We have people together and there are two entirely different versions. I have not even reached the other reports such as the 2010 report or the 2006 report which remained on someone's desk. We are talking about what, unfortunately, has been called Mr. McGee's report. Does Mr. Dunne understand the point I am making?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do. I think I said earlier in the meeting that the relationship between Mr. Culhane and Mr. Barrett is not good. They both reported to me. The challenge I had was to get them to work together in order that we could make things happen and implement things. That was the challenge I had. The view I had was that it would not be at all helpful to start trying to figure one versus the other.

I want to come back to Mr. McGee briefly. I must put it to Mr. Dunne that he failed utterly to grasp the significance of what was happening. We have a director of finance writing a letter to the Commissioner asking for the Official Secrets Act to be invoked about a man who is raising issues. Is that not right? Mr. Dunne is talking about a difference of personality between the two of them as opposed to realising that Mr. Barrett is raising a serious issue.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That issue was being dealt with.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That issue was actually being dealt with.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

From memory, I think it was November.

Mr. Dunne's note is from November.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

At the end of July, we set up a working group which was implementing the recommendations in so far as it could from 2008. We had engaged the Department to make sure it was aware of the issues that had been raised and what was happening. That was the second thing we did. I briefed the audit committee. It was not as if this was being ignored.

I do not entirely agree with Mr. Dunne but I see where he is coming from. However, it was not being dealt with. It was mentioned under any other business. Subsequently, we see from the record of the minute that it is longer. Certainly, I agree with the point made by Deputy Kelly. It is in a different font. Certain questions must be asked. If that is the meeting, I accept it, but at the moment, there is a question around that meeting. When we go forward to December, it recorded that the audit committee would look at it at some future date. That is what the minutes of the December meeting of the audit committee said, so number one, there is no sense of seriousness or urgency here. Mr. Barrett, without whom all the witnesses accept this would not have come to light, is totally unhappy and someone writes that he should be investigated under the Official Secrets Act. We have Mr. McGee inadvertently coming into this with two men giving two different versions. I will return to Mr. McGee. He produced a report in 2008. Did he have any difficulty with Mr. Barrett?

Mr. Barry McGee

Absolutely not.

Did he have trust in Mr. Barrett?

Mr. Barry McGee

Absolutely.

Did Mr. McGee have any say when his report was not acted on?

Mr. Barry McGee

When?

His 2008 report. I understand that it was partially acted on and then even those-----

Mr. Barry McGee

Is Deputy Connolly referring to the 2008 period?

Mr. Barry McGee

I would not have had any input in terms of it. I did the review and sent it up.

Was Mr. McGee aware that there was a report from 2006?

Mr. Barry McGee

No.

When was that drawn to Mr. McGee's attention?

Mr. Barry McGee

Just recently.

Mr. Barry McGee

Just recently in terms of the 2006 internal audit report.

Does Mr. Dunne not think it would have been better to have referred the whole matter to the Comptroller and Auditor General and, at the very least, to have notified the audit committee in a more substantial way?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I accept the point made earlier by the Comptroller and Auditor General so I accept the view that I should have reported it at the July meeting. The only difference here is six weeks between one committee meeting and another because that is when I forwarded it.

I do not agree with Mr. Dunne. Am I being unfair to him when I say that he believed that it just needed to be regularised and that nothing improper was done in the past?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I believed that two things needed to be done and that there were twin tracks. It is important. The finances needed to be regularised in 2015. My view was that we needed to get everything from that financial perspective cleared and regularised in 2015. That is one thread. The second thread was that having done that, we needed to make sure a full audit of everything that had happened was done. That is why I briefed the audit committee to say there would be a demand on internal audit during 2016 to do that audit. I was very clear that both of those things needed to happen.

Did Mr. Dunne ask himself why nothing had happened about the 2008 report?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

And the 2006 report?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

What answers did he come up with?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I did not know why. I could not come to a conclusion on that but what I did decide was that we needed to make sure we did not repeat the same mistakes. I made sure we made all the information visible, which is very important. We made what we were doing visible to the Department in order that there was no question that this could be swept under the carpet. That was what I was trying to do. It bears that scrutiny.

May I ask the chief superintendents, the Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioners a question? The witnesses can tell me if I am wrong but this is what happened in 2009. On 18 September 2009, Deputy Commissioner Ignatius Rice wrote regarding the Garda Training College and financial regulation. He clearly said that it was important to point out that all the named companies and committees were formed at a time when there was no money made available by the State to develop and improve welfare, sporting facilities and so on. He wrote that the only means at the time to develop and improve these facilities was the formation of the said companies. He went on to write that when the public money came and was channelled through the restaurants and a profit was made, it was okay to use that money because the Government was not funding the facilities properly and he saw absolutely nothing wrong with the use of that money.

That, in my opinion, is the problem. Do the witnesses disagree with that? I am particularly talking to the members of An Garda Síochána.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Do we disagree with what, Deputy?

That there was a mentality that public money going into An Garda Síochána to pay for gardaí then goes into the restaurant, a profit is made and the money is channelled into various groups for sporting facilities because, in the opinion of that commissioner, there was not enough money coming from the Government. If there was money left over at the end of the year, it was certainly not going back to the public coffers.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

From my reading of that piece of correspondence it is clear to me that the deputy commissioner at that time believed that money was not State money. He clearly states that.

He said that he believed that any surplus money did not belong to the State.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

That is surplus money that was generated from public funds.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

That was his view at the time. I do not hold with that view.

The witness does not hold with that view.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

No.

Mr. Pat McCabe

Being on the ground, there was a view, and the understanding in terms of where the money was coming from, that the money, paid clearly from the Garda Vote, belonged to the individual members and trainees. It is as result of that belief that view was held in the college over the years.

I want to come back to that view and lack of candour. Right up to this year the head of the audit committee was speaking to Deputy Commissioner Ó Cualáin. I am very bad on the titles, gabh mo leithscéal. Níl sé scríobhtha. Bheadh sé i bhfad níos eascaí dá mba rud é go raibh sé scríobhtha. They are talking about lack of candour the whole way up, right up to this year. Mr. Howard has it on record. In fairness, he does not attribute it to the witnesses or to the Commissioner, but he talks about the difficulty of giving out about the messenger and about the lack of candour right the way up. That is our difficulty at this committee. Would this witnesses like to comment on that?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Can I comment? The Garda training college was set up in 1964 when training moved from Garda Headquarters to Templemore. A financial architecture was put in place with the full knowledge of the Department of Justice at the time. That evolved over the years until the Walsh report was implemented. Even going back as far as 1986-----

Can I just interrupt the witness? All of that has repeatedly been said by the Commissioner and others and that has all been accepted. It has not been accepted, however, by the people who carried out the various reports including the McGee report, the Nolan report and the internal audit, which said that all this was off the balance sheet, irregular and outside of financial control. Giving me the historical aspect again is not helpful. What we are looking at was completely outside of acceptable standards, not looking back now, but in 2006, 2008 and 2010. That is the difficulty that we have. It does not inspire confidence when the witnesses keep going back to that narrative. It would be more inspiring for us to hear the witnesses say that they are dealing with the lack of candour. Where does the lack of candour come from? Mr. Howard, as chairman of the audit committee, says that there is still a lack of candour. That is the question for the witnesses to answer, not the historical legacy justifying something that cannot be justified because various experts have said that it is outside. The Comptroller and Auditor General has said this. These are the questions.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Sorry Deputy, the recommendations of the audit report are accepted and are in the process of being implemented. An Garda Síochána absolutely has to comply with public sector controls, regulations and governance. The historical perspective is important because this was the situation in which An Garda Síochána found itself. There is evidence on file going back as far as 1986 - in fact, Mr. Niall Kelly came across it when he was doing his audit - that there was an investment of £200,000 directly from the Department of Justice into the Garda college. It is not as if An Garda Síochána were dreaming up these things on its own. We had oversight from our parent organisation and there is plenty of evidence of that. Mr. Gay Harris is the person in that particular one that I am referencing. I am not saying that it is right or that was the funding model that should have been put in place. It is clear now that it should not have been. That, however, is the backdrop to this. We are trying to regularise this in every way that we can.

I will respond to Mr. Barrett's question as to whether or not anything would have happened had he not brought this issue to light. As I mentioned earlier, I have been endeavouring to unravel this since 2013, together with the executive director of finance and, to a lesser extent, Mr. Ruane who, as the Commissioner's legal representative, could not really be involved in the sports field company business. In addition to that, and again in conjunction with the executive director of finance, any surpluses were wound down and used for the day-to-day running of the college so that when the new students came into Templemore in September 2014 there was no drawdown on the Garda Vote. It was on a net profit basis so that in the future, that situation would never again arise. There was a lot of work going on to bring the situation into 2017 governance standards and financial controls.

The elephant in the room was the issue of the Garda college restaurant staff and whether or not they were public employees. They clearly were not. At one point in the 2000s they set about going on strike and threatening to jeopardise the implementation of the new training programme, because the restaurant is an integral part of the Garda college. The Department rejected that suggestion at the time so the process continued. While efforts were being made to regularise the situation then, as long as the restaurant staff remained outside the public sector pay roll money was always going to have to be found to pay them. Whether that was right, wrong or otherwise, that was the factual position of the situation in which the Garda college found itself.

I have a question for Mr. Dunne and Mr. Nugent. Both of them will be able to help me with this one and it will also be of interest to the Comptroller and Auditor General. When the audit was being completed for 2015 there was an amendment made in September to the statement of internal financial control. This was in September-----

Mr. Joseph Nugent

September 2016.

Do the witnesses recall that? September 2016 for the year end-----

Mr. Joseph Nugent

For the appropriate year ending 2015.

Mr. Dunne was very aware of the issues in the summer of 2015, in June, July, August and September. Those facts that existed in 2015 had an impact on what had been happening with the internal financial control reporting for 2014. Given that it was considered necessary in September 2016 to make an amendment on the statement of internal financial control by the Commissioner for the year 2015, should that same correction not have been made for 2014? The witnesses had so much information that they were able to brief the internal audit committee and they have, to a major extent, all told us about this here today and in the minutes. It was well known to the witnesses at that stage. Before signing off the appropriation accounts for 2014, which they would have done at some point during 2015, they would have had to know of this major difficulty in internal financial control. Should the witnesses not have brought that to the attention of the Comptroller and Auditor General a year earlier? What was the difference between signing off the 2014 and the 2015 accounts when the same difficulties pertained? Why did the witnesses not bring this to the Comptroller and Auditor General's attention 12 months earlier when they had the information for 2014 by the middle of 2015?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I am trying to remember back. I cannot even remember it coming up as a consideration, Chairman.

Okay. Mr. Dunne has read out the detailed presentation that he made to the internal audit committee in September 2015.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

It is detailed. Mr. Dunne is fully aware of it and thus able to prepare this report for the internal audit committee. Somebody else said that it is only a small report but according to Mr. Dunne it is quite extensive.

That related to events that had been happening prior to him coming to the college.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Over the years.

At which point over the summer of 2015, when Mr. Dunne was preparing this, the audit was not yet signed off for the previous year. On the one hand, he considered this to be very serious and he gave a detailed report to his internal audit committee and subsequently required an amendment to the statement of financial control. Why did he not come to that conclusion when he came across this information during 2015 for the same correction to be made to 2014?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It simply was not something that I considered at the time. Possibly I should have but the signing off of the appropriation accounts is not actually part of my brief. It was not something that came through my office.

Who dealt with that? Was that the director of finance?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It would be the director of finance.

Would he have been aware of these concerns at that stage?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes, he would have been aware of it.

I will ask the Comptroller and Auditor General. Given that the change happened when he was completing his 2016 audit, it is clear to me that before the audit from the previous year was completed the substance of this issue was well-known within the ranks of the Garda. Was he made aware of this at that early stage?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

No, we were not made aware of it in 2015.

And should the Comptroller and Auditor General's office have been made aware, in the light of what is now known?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

I consider that we should have been.

When the Comptroller and Auditor General became aware of this in his audit last year, he insisted that a correction be made to the statement.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

And that is the case. It was we who suggested we could not complete the audit without something being referenced in the statements of internal financial control.

Given that this information was in the possession of the senior people involved a year earlier, even if they had not done their internal audit report at that stage, what is Mr. McCarthy's view of his not being notified of this a year earlier?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

My view is that it should have been brought to our attention during 2015, in the context of signing off for the 2014 accounts.

From the Comptroller and Auditor General's point of view, is there any mechanism where the audited account that he signed can be dealt with? We are now reaching agreement that the 2014 accounts, which were signed off towards the end of 2015 when all this was very much on the Comptroller and Auditor General's agenda, did not include this. Is there anything that can be done about it? We can make reference to it.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

No, the fact is that an appropriation account is indelible. The account is the account. That is what was reported and cannot be changed.

We cannot change the report.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

No.

It would be up to the Committee of Public Accounts to highlight that issue if we are making a report. Okay. I call Deputy McDonald.

Can Ms McMahon confirm on what date she made her retrospective declaration regarding SIPO?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I cannot say exactly the date. I think that for 2015 and 2016, I made it in February. For the remainder of the years, I did it in the last two weeks.

So Ms McMahon made a retrospective declaration, one in February 2017?

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes.

And the other a week ago.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

About two weeks ago.

About two weeks ago. Okay.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

I can check the date for that if the Deputy wishes.

It would be helpful, for the purposes of accuracy.

Ms Anne Marie McMahon

Yes.

So it was very late in the day that the declarations were made and coincided with the hearings here. I state that as an observation.

Mr. Dunne first came to the Garda Síochána in 2012, it that correct? Or was it 2013? When did he come into the position?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was 2013.

Okay. What was the tenure of his appointment? Was it a permanent role?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No.

Was it a fixed term contract?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was a fixed term contract.

For how many years?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The contract was five years and non-renewable.

Five years. And Mr. Dunne did not complete those five years.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I did not.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I was approached. Another opportunity was ------

I have looked at Mr. Dunne's CV. He is quite the professional mover and shaker, would he agree?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do not know to what the Deputy is referring.

I am just admiring his list of achievements. Could Mr. Dunne tell me the salary that was payable in the role of chief administrative officer?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do not remember specifically.

He does not remember his own salary.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was the same as -----

No, I would like a figure please.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I actually do not have it. It was around €160,000.

Around €160,000.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is the same as a deputy secretary.

Okay. That is nice work. It is astonishing that he would not know his own salary, but how and ever. Mr. Dunne came into the position in 2013. He states as a matter of evidence to this committee that he did not have any sight or knowledge of the 2008 report until much later.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

When did he first read Mr. McGee's report? With due deference, that is how I will refer to it.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do not know the specific date. It was the end of June when John Barrett brought it to my attention.

John Barrett brought the McGee report to Mr. Dunne's attention.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

And he read it, I have no doubt, and was alarmed by it.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That is reasonable.

How long is Mr. McGee in position with An Garda Síochána?

Mr. Barry McGee

Since mid-2007.

And what position is he in now?

Mr. Barry McGee

I was recently promoted to assistant principal, so I am on probation at the moment.

Congratulations for that. Would it be fair to say that among the stellar line up before us, that Mr. McGee would be the least senior person appearing today?

Mr. Barry McGee

Possibly.

I say that with all due respect. Is it not astonishing that back in 2008, Mr. McGee, and Mr. McGee alone, knew and had full surveillance and a sense of what was going on in Templemore?

Mr. Barry McGee

That is correct but it is because I was tasked by the CAO at the time.

I know how it happened but is that not astonishing? Imagine the person with the least seniority, and I will not ask but I would wager he is not earning €160,000 per annum. "I wish I was", says you. I hope he does some day. So Mr. McGee knew about this report. It must have been odd for him to have compiled this report and to have submitted it. If I had compiled such a report, I would have wondered what happened on foot of it. I would have wondered what were the consequences of my work. Mr. McGee gave it to Mr. Culhane who was his superior.

Mr. Barry McGee

Correct.

Okay. And did Mr. Culhane come back at any stage to brief him or were there any subsequent conversations in respect of what was happening in respect of the report?

Mr. Barry McGee

To be honest, no.

Prior to Mr. Barrett approaching him, did any other person within management approach Mr. McGee to discuss that report at any stage?

Mr. Barry McGee

No.

No. So seven years later, Mr. Barrett approaches him.

Mr. Barry McGee

No. To give context to it -----

I do not need context, with respect. We have limited time for context. No one approached Mr. McGee regarding his 2008 report until Mr. Barrett came and had a conversation with him, is that correct?

Mr. Barry McGee

He did not have a conversation with me regarding that. I was asked down to the college as part of a working group. There were other issues in throughput and so on. On questions that were being asked such as how assets were being -----

So that I have not misunderstood, can Mr. McGee clarify when and where did Mr. Barrett have the conversation with him about the 2008 report?

Mr. Barry McGee

Roughly, it was 2015. I cannot remember when but maybe around June.

Is Mr. McGee anxious here today?

Mr. Barry McGee

No.

I ask Mr. McGee not to be. Mr. McGee is here to give us the full value of his knowledge. He has to be fully frank. I am sure he understands in that regard.

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes. I can only give what I can recall.

Of course, I absolutely appreciate that. Seven years later, as I was saying, Mr. McGee has a conversation with Mr. Barrett.

Mr. Barry McGee

Okay.

Mr. Barrett asks Mr. McGee for the report. Mr. McGee supplies him with the report.

Mr. Barry McGee

No. He did not ask me for the report. I suppose he had questions about how-----

Mr. Barry McGee

And other questions, say, on finances within the college.

Okay. So Mr. McGee talked to him about that.

Mr. Barry McGee

Correct, but I never mentioned any report to him at the time. So I was back in Garda headquarters and I asked Michael and he directed me then to send it.

So Mr. McGee sent the report.

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes, with permission. Obviously, I had to clear it with the executive director.

Was Mr. McGee at any stage concerned about his own position or credibility, or his job?

Mr. Barry McGee

No.

So that was a misconstrued worry.

Mr. Barry McGee

It is misconstrued. I might have felt uncomfortable between the two but, absolutely not, there was no-----

What was the source of Mr. McGee's discomfort? Was it the clash between Culhane and Barrett?

Mr. Barry McGee

No, just in terms of how the report was probably being presented to Mr. Barrett. I just felt personal discomfort on it.

Was it in terms of how Mr. McGee's report was being presented to Mr. Barrett or by Mr. Barrett?

Mr. Barry McGee

No, the whole process to present to him. Basically, I was directed by Mr. Michael Culhane to present the report. Sorry, Mr. John Barrett had taken up a position as an executive director of-----

Mr. Barry McGee

-----HR, and of course, the Garda college is under his remit, so we felt it would be remiss not to give him this overview of how the structures were in place.

Was it remiss for Mr. McGee and Mr. Culhane not to take the same view of Cyril Dunne when he came into position as chief administrative officer to furnish him with the report?

Mr. Barry McGee

I suppose in terms of this, this came because I had a direct working relationship with John Barrett on it and he was asking for it.

I am not trying to be smart here or walk Mr. McGee into difficulties-----

Mr. Barry McGee

I accept that.

-----but Mr. McGee needs to tell us what happened, never mind anybody else or what they might think, say or do. Mr. McGee just needs to tell us what happened. Is it fair to say, or was it Mr. McGee's impression or experience, that Mr. Barrett sort of unlocked the whole thing and brought matters to a head in terms of dealing with the issues that Mr. McGee had identified in 2008?

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes. That would be a fair comment.

What is the climate like in the division in which Mr. McGee works? Mr. McGee works for Mr. Culhane.

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes.

Mr. McGee works within that division. Is it a hostile working environment-----

Mr. Barry McGee

No.

-----or is it collegiate?

Mr. Barry McGee

No, no. It is not a hostile working environment, no.

So Mr. McGee never would have felt anxious for his position and Mr. Barrett's concerns. At one stage, the term "whistleblower" is used, as regards Mr. McGee.

Mr. Barry McGee

Yes, that was an opinion. That was not stated. That-----

Okay, so Mr. McGee never felt under pressure.

Mr. Barry McGee

No, no. I mean, Mr. Barrett did say, "Look, your position is safe."

Why would he have said that to Mr. McGee?

Mr. Barry McGee

I do not know, to be honest. As I say, I went in and presented the report. Basically, maybe because of discomfort, that is, my own personal discomfort. There was no issue. Like, I had no fear for my position or anything like that.

Okay. I thank Mr. McGee. To return to Mr. Dunne's tenure, he started in 2013, he told us, and then he took his leave at the end of 2015. Is that right?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Correct.

Had Mr. Dunne's leaving position anything to do with the matters in respect of the Garda college and how all of that was shaping up?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, not at all.

How was Mr. Dunne recruited into the job in 2013?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Open competition.

Would Mr. Dunne explain this to me? He states that when he discovered the full scope of what was going on, he decided that he needed further information. How or why would he have had that discretion? Let me remind Mr. Dunne when he is answering that he is, as my colleagues have stated, criticised very sharply in the internal audit in terms of decisions that he made, what he did and what he did not do, and with all due respect to him, he really needs to read that report. One of the criticisms, the core of it is that Mr. Dunne kept information from internal audit. That is the sum of it. Mr. Dunne stated earlier on that he did not accept that and yet he states that he took the view that he was in need of further information, in other words, that he should have some investigative role. How would that have been appropriate?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, not investigative role. It was about gathering the information. It was clear to me-----

What is that, other than investigative?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is actually sourcing the information that is available in the organisation.

I will not get into the semantics of it with Mr. Dunne.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It was very clear to me that the information that we had was only partial. When I went down to the college and we had the meetings, round about the beginning of July, it-----

Why, does Mr. Dunne imagine, is there an internal audit function in the organisation?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Internal audit is very clearly to review the processes and the accounts-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----within the organisation, yes, absolutely, but to-----

How would Mr. Dunne have thought it appropriate to keep matters from internal audit, which Mr. Dunne disputes, or to usurp the function of internal audit?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

There is no question of usurping the function of internal audit. What I explained earlier was that there were two things that needed to be done, two tracks that needed to be followed and I want to comment then in relation to internal audit's role as we go on.

No, no. I want Mr. Dunne to be succinct.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

On those two tracks, one was to implement the management decision and actions that ought to be taken. For example, it was clear from the information we had that there were numerous bank accounts which had been recommended to be closed and it was important, in my view, that we close those accounts. So that was one. Then the second thread is a full review by internal audit of everything that had gone on. Okay, so those two threads.

It is most important that you do not have contagion between those two because as soon as you involve internal audit in management actions, they are potentially conflicted. If they are involved at all in management decisions they are not in a position to objectively review those decisions and that is why I did not involve internal audit in the working group or the-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----or the actions.

That, to my ear, sounds like you are spoofing. That is what that sounds like to me.

How it looks, from where I am sitting, is that Mr. Dunne presided for the best part of three years over this situation where it must have been clear to him, even late in the day, that there had been a deliberate strategy to manage things internally to keep matters - a clear decision - from the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor General, from this committee and from internal audit. I put it to Mr. Dunne, in his stewardship in the role that he held, that he was part of that strategy.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I absolutely reject that. The documentation shows differently. What it actually shows is that, in the meeting in September, I briefed the audit committee very clearly.

I want to refer Mr. Dunne back to this meeting on 6 August 2015. It started at 11.15 a.m. and finished at 1.15 p.m. It was stated that Mr. Dunne, "wished to make it very clear that there is no basis to suggest any misappropriation or mishandling, fraud or otherwise or any suggestion of inappropriate activity". Try as I might, I cannot for the life of me understand how Mr. Dunne would have been in a position to make an assertion like that.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The reason I was making that assertion, again, if the Deputy goes back to what I describe as the two threads that need to flow through this-----

I am aware of the two threads. That does not answer my question. How could Mr. Dunne have arrived at that position?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is very important that the Deputy separates out the internal audit review that did have-----

I am going to help-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

-----who would make those determinations-----

I am going to help Mr. Dunne because the clue might be later on in an account. Superintendent McCabe-----

That document was referenced.

Sorry, it was referenced earlier by-----

It was in Mr. Ruane's notes.

Superintendent McCabe, at that same meeting, welcomed Mr. Dunne's comments that there was no suggestion of inappropriate conduct. He goes on to say then that it was even hard to take that Mr. Dunne had to make that statement. He then goes on to say, as regards the 2008 report, that, "The issues raised therein could have been career ending for him [that is, for Superintendent McCabe] and notes that the issue is now being discussed at a high level with the possibility of advice being sought from the Attorney General". Is that right?

Mr. Pat McCabe

If there was wrongdoing in-----

Does Superintendent McCabe recall that that is what he said at that meeting? I have a detailed note of it here, provided to us by Mr. Ruane.

Mr. Pat McCabe

Yes, that is acceptable.

So the matters within the 2008 report were really serious. We understand that from the work Mr. McGee did. They would have been career ending for Superintendent McCabe, would they not, if there was any suggestion of misappropriation.

Mr. Pat McCabe

Absolutely, and I had not seen that report at the time.

Superintendent McCabe had sight of it thereafter, did he not?

Mr. Pat McCabe

It was later that I got it. Mr. Barrett actually gave me a copy of it.

So, again, all roads lead to Mr. Barrett, who provided Superintendent McCabe with that.

I put it to Mr. Dunne that it was his consideration of perhaps the standing, the careers, the credibility and the integrity, which I am not questioning, by the way, of others that actually led him to make that statement, because he was not in any factual, objective way in a position to make that statement. He did not know at that stage. As a matter of fact, we still do not firmly know whether there was misappropriation, mishandling, fraud or otherwise. I am not suggesting there was; I am simply saying that we do not know and the jury is out on that. Certainly, going back to August 2015, he was not in a position to make that statement. The statement, I believe, was more driven by this strategy I referred to earlier of minimisation, dealing with things internally and protecting people.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

As I said, I absolutely reject that. If I could suggest to the Deputy-----

I suggest to Mr. Dunne that he tells me how it is that he arrived at this conclusion which meant he could say without doubt that there was no misappropriation, mishandling, fraud or otherwise. How was he in a position to make that claim?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

No, I was in a position to say "I had no basis", which is very different to saying "there had not been". As discussed earlier, there is still work ongoing on that by internal audit and, potentially, there may be findings that come out. However, at that point in time, there was no basis and there is still, as I understand it, no basis.

In the time that Mr. Dunne was in position, was there any interaction between Mr. McGee and Mr. Dunne?

Mr. Barry McGee

Any interaction at all?

Just interaction generally. What would the dynamic be? Would Mr. McGee see him?

Mr. Barry McGee

I had some interaction on other issues.

I must ask the Deputy to ask her last question.

This is my last question. On what kind of issues would Mr. McGee have been interacting with Mr. Dunne?

Mr. Barry McGee

They were just regular issues to do with European funding.

It was on European funding streams but he never had any interaction with Mr. Dunne on his 2008 report.

Mr. Barry McGee

From memory, no.

Mr. McGee had regular interactions on things that were standard and routine but no interaction on something as scandalous as this.

Mr. Barry McGee

Pretty infrequent interaction.

In terms of Mr. Dunne accruing the information that he could, unlike Mr. Barrett, he never came and had a conversation with Mr. McGee.

Mr. Barry McGee

No, he did not.

Thank you. I call Deputy Cullinane.

While I do not say this in any trite or cliched way, I want to say that we, as members of this committee, prepare for these meetings. As people can see, an awful lot of work goes into preparing the documentation and I would expect witnesses to prepare for the meeting as well. I will reserve judgment on whether or not Mr. Dunne should come back before us again. I hope he stays for the afternoon. Maybe we should have some discussion ourselves, as members, as to whether he should return but I will reserve judgment and we will wait and see what happens in the afternoon.

I ask both Mr. Dunne and Mr. Ó Cualáin whether they understand the role and function of the Committee of Public Accounts.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I believe I do.

What is Mr. Dunne's understanding of our role and function?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is to review the Votes of all of the various Departments.

It is more than that. Does Mr. Ó Cualáin understand the role and function of the Committee of Public Accounts?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

I believe I do, yes.

Does Mr. Dunne understand the role and function of the Comptroller and Auditor General's office?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

My understanding is that it is the equivalent of the external auditor.

Exactly. Does Mr. Ó Cualain understand the role and function of the Comptroller and Auditor General's office?

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes, I do.

There are the internal dynamics within An Garda Síochána that would have dealt with the issues in the Garda training college. We know it would have moved from the Commissioner down to the assistant commissioners, the assistant commissioner for change management, the finance directorate, the head of human resources, the CAO's office, internal audit, or GIAS, and the audit committee. All would have had a role and there would have been a very specific role for internal audit which was quite different to all the others. Externally, there would be the Committee of Public Accounts, the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, the Attorney General's office, Revenue and lots of other external organisations, yet none of those external organisations was informed of any of these issues until 2016, I understand.

An account was given by the Commissioner when she was before us that she first became aware of these issues in, I think, July 2015. Subsequently, Mr. Ruane said it was June 2015 but that could have been a mistake. Whenever it was, she became aware in mid-2015. My understanding is that, following this, a steering group was established and Mr. Dunne played a central role in that steering group. Is that correct?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

Yes.

How is it that the Commissioner was informed of the extent of the problems, a high level steering group was established and a process was put in place to examine these issues, yet the Comptroller and Auditor General's office was not at any point notified? Can Mr. Dunne explain that?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I can explain what that working group was doing.

No, I know what the working group was doing. I want Mr. Dunne to be very direct because, as the Chair said, we have very limited time. I am concerned about process and procedures. I have dealt with the internal elements and dynamics of this but we have the external elements. The external bodies were not given the information. One of the central charges made by Mr. Barrett and Mr. Kelly in his internal audit report is that information was kept from internal audit and kept from the purview of the Comptroller and Auditor General, the PAC and, potentially, others.

I am saying that the Commissioner was made aware in mid-2015. There was a high-level steering group. Discussions were going on. Yet, the Comptroller and Auditor General was not informed of that process. Why was that the case? I am asking Mr. Dunne. I want Mr. Dunne to answer that question rather than answer in terms of context or what the committee was doing. Why was the Comptroller and Auditor General's office not informed?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I cannot answer for something that did not happen. It was clear that the various bodies would need to be informed. I have heard from the Comptroller and Auditor General earlier this morning and I accept that the office should have been informed earlier. We just did not-----

We had a steering committee of senior individuals dealing with all these issues. Yet, no one in the room thought to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, not even of the establishment of a steering group.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That was the position at that point in time. That is correct.

The relevant note is on the screen. Page 2 states that the chief administrative office noted that the work had progressed on the matter for a number of years. The note continues, stating that the CAO, Mr. Dunne, pointed out that the group would consider whether external involvement was warranted, but was not required at that point in time.

When Mr. Dunne spoke of external involvement, what was he referring to?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I was thinking of basically anything outside.

Would that include the Comptroller and Auditor General?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It would. What would have been, in my view, the bodies that would have needed to be notified at a point in time included the Department. I would even include our internal audit as an external body in that context because it is independent and, certainly, the Comptroller and Auditor General as well.

What it says in black and white is that there was consideration about whether there should be external involvement and whether it was warranted. However, Mr. Dunne said it was not required at that point in time. Is that an accurate reflection of what he said?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

It is, absolutely, at that point in time.

Does Mr. McCarthy see it as acceptable that the Commissioner would have been made aware in the middle of 2015, whatever the date, that a high-level steering group was established? I put this question to the Comptroller and Auditor General at the previous meeting. My recollection is that he said once the process was put in place to deal with these issues, his office should have been informed.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

That would be my view as to the correct action.

Would the Comptroller and Auditor General have expected that the steering group, when it was considering these matters, should have given not only consideration to but acted upon a decision to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General's office at that point?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

I think it is very difficult to put myself in the minds of the individuals who were involved in the steering committee or the directions they were given.

I am asking the question only in process terms.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

In process terms, I am quite clear that my office should have been informed in mid-2015 about this.

I asked Mr. Dunne earlier whether he was aware of the function of the Comptroller and Auditor General. One of the central charges being made by some people within the organisation is that all of this was kept in-house. Mr. Dunne might be aware that Mr. Kelly referred to a circling of the wagons and keeping it internal. Mr. Barrett made similar accusations as well. Let us bear in mind that we have gone from 2006 to 2015 and a steering group was set up with the support of the Commissioner. Yet, a decision was made not to inform the Comptroller and Auditor General's office.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

At that point in time, yes.

I find that incredible.

Let us go back to the July meeting in 2015. Mr. Dunne was due to brief the audit committee but that did not happen. This goes back to my criticism of Mr. Dunne not reading the report. Mr. Dunne has gone through this with An Teachta McDonald. Mr. Dunne said that he believed he should gather more information, which is the reason he did not bring this to the attention of the July meetings. Is that not correct?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That is correct.

Mr. Dunne did not have the right, at that point in time, in my view, to make that call. The document I have before me states that the report was compiled so that the chief administrative officer would brief the audit committee in June. This did not happen. Page 15 of the interim audit report states that in progressing the issues internal audit concluded that GIAS should have been informed immediately and that the report should have been on the agenda of the audit committee meeting in July 2015. The report went on to state that GIAS, with the backing of the audit committee, was better placed to do the investigative work and the information gathering. What I take from that is similar to what the internal audit people took from it, that is to say, Mr. Dunne assumed the role of internal audit for that period.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

The role of internal audit is actually looking at and identifying what has gone on and making recommendations. The steering committee at the time was doing two things. It was trying to find out the scope of the issue. Second, it was trying to implement what I would describe as the no-regret decisions that needed to be implemented. It was always my view that internal audit-----

Sorry, Mr. Dunne. I accept all of that. What I am saying is that there is a strong criticism in the internal audit report which suggests that internal audit was the body best placed to do that investigative work. This goes back to what I said earlier. There was a sense that those involved would deal with it in-house and would not allow internal audit, the audit committee or the Comptroller and Auditor General to deal with it. Internal audit said that. If internal audit says that in a report, does that not concern Mr. Dunne?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I do not accept it.

Mr. Dunne does not accept the internal audit finding in that regard. Is that correct?

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I think that is a point of view. Let me explain my mindset at the time, because Deputy Cullinane is challenging the mindset I had. The fact is that the approaches by internal audit prior to 2015 had not been successful for whatever reason. We have heard that those involved did not get access to information. We have heard a series of reasons why they were not able to progress it to the point that they would have liked to progress it.

I was in a position where I could ensure that internal audit eventually would be able to get traction in this matter. I needed to get the information that was available within the organisation from, for example, the Commissioner's office, the office of the deputy commissioners and from the college. That was the mindset that I had at that point in time. This was to put internal audit in a position where it could conduct an audit and be successful.

I will come back to Mr. Dunne because-----

Mr. Cyril Dunne

That is actually then what happened.

We will move on.

I believe there is an irreconcilable difference between what internal audit is saying and what Mr. Dunne has said. I will come back to that later.

I have one final question for Mr. McCabe. Deputy McDonald put this to Mr. McCabe earlier. I have before me a note with an account of Mr. McCabe's contribution in which he says this could have been career-ending for him because of the irregularities. When the Commissioner was before the committee she accepted that there were financial irregularities. When the Commissioner was before the committee she said that the findings of the interim audit report were absolutely and totally unacceptable. Does that not raise serious issues for people who held managerial positions in An Garda Síochána in the time period these irregularities were happening? Does Mr. McCabe believe that there is culpability on his part and on the part of others who had responsibility in respect of those irregularities? Was that at the foremost of his mind when he said that this could have been career-ending for him?

Mr. Pat McCabe

No, what I was referring to was those funds that would have gone missing or something to that effect. We were left with a situation we had to manage. It was in place and we were managing it as best we could. We were trying to bring it, surface it and change it. It has changed to a degree. In terms of my concerns about the career-ending aspect of it, if there was any criminal activity-----

The Commissioner accepted that there were financial irregularities. Internal audit says there were financial irregularities. Yet, Mr. McCabe was in a very senior management position at the time in the Garda training college. Surely, Mr. McCabe must take some responsibility for the fact that these irregularities existed under his watch. Would he at least accept that today?

Mr. Pat McCabe

The question is in terms of irregularities. The whole thing is a bizarre set-up. I have to accept that completely.

The Commissioner accepted financial irregularities. We will have the Commissioner before the committee next week. I will put those questions to her. I will put to her the responses of Ms McMahon, Mr. McCabe, Ms Nugent, Mr. Dunne, Mr. Nugent, Mr. Ó Cualáin and Mr. McGee.

Mr. McCabe was in a very senior position. The Commissioner accepts that there were financial irregularities which happened on Mr. McCabe's watch. He is one of the people in the room who have to take responsibility and I ask him to take responsibility for-----

Mr. Pat McCabe

I certainly take-----

If there were financial irregularities, they happened on Mr. McCabe's watch.

Mr. Pat McCabe

I certainly take responsibility for actions I took but any criminal wrongdoing or anything like it-----

I am not talking about criminal wrongdoing but about financial irregularities.

I am calling Deputy Catherine Murphy. Deputy David Cullinane has asked his question. We will have to specify precisely what we mean by "financial irregularities" in case some people misinterpret them to mean misappropriation. Others might have a different view.

I will come back to the matter in the afternoon.

We will come back to what exactly we mean by that phrase which could mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

For the purposes of clarity-----

No; Deputy Catherine Murphy is next.

I am not trying to take her time. I just want to know whether Mr. Dunne will be here in the afternoon.

He has not had an opportunity to use his phone while he has been here. I suggest he make a phone call the minute the meeting is suspended which I expect to happen before noon. If he lets the clerk know the outcome of that call, he will be able to send us a text or an email. We ask Mr. Dunne to postpone his engagement this afternoon if he is in a position to do so.

Mr. Cyril Dunne

I understand that and will endeavour to do so.

I ask Mr. Dunne to liaise immediately with the clerk who will have to text us.

There seems to be a very clear separation between criminal and other breaches, including civil and corporate and financial breaches, as well as breaches of codes. That came across to me the last day and it has come across to me again today. The reality is that money allocated to the Garda college for a particular purpose was taken and put into an account. Some of it ended up in the boat club, for example. Some of it was taken at a time when there was inadequate-----

Let me clarify what the Deputy is saying. Is she suggesting money from the Vote ended up in the boat club?

No; it ended up in the restaurant, from where it went into the sports field account.

The funds were raised in the restaurant.

It then went from the sports field account into the boat club.

That is the essence of why we are here. The sports field account was not part-----

The reason we are here is that all of this activity was not part of the Vote. In normal circumstances the income should have been recorded as appropriations-in-aid to be offset against the net Vote.

It should have been returned.

It was not part of the Vote. I want to be clear and ask the Comptroller and Auditor General to help me. Did money from the Vote go to the boat club?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

There were payments from the Vote to the restaurant account in respect of allowances for students.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

They were fully charged to subhead A1.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

I think there were transfers from the surplus funds from the restaurant to the sports field company and for the-----

Was the surplus generated from voted funds?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

It was explained that it had been transferred for use in the development of sports facilities for members and particularly students. My recollection is that between 2000 and 2003 there was a transfer to the boat club in Islandbridge.

From the Vote.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

Not from the Vote; from the sports field company's funds.

Was there another source of income into the sports field company's account or the restaurant's account other than voted funds?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy

I do not know. Perhaps you could-----

That is the essence of the matter. The Garda college is stating it collected money from the students and that was put into this account which was separate from the money included in the Vote. That is my understanding. Essentially, the restaurant received funds from two sources. Some of its money came from the Vote and some from the funds the Garda college collected from the students.

Mr. Pat McCabe

No. There was no money collected from the students-----

The laundry money.

Mr. Pat McCabe

-----other than the money that was paid in the form of the allowance. That was established in 1989 or 1990. Prior to that, people were attested when they joined the Garda and a deduction was made from their pay. An allowance paid in respect of each individual member was given to the restaurant to provide gardaí with food. If the numbers were sufficiently high for a surplus to be generated, it was disbursed across. It can be seen in the documentation that all of this happened around 1989 when the original investment of €200,000 by the Department came to fruition. It can also be seen that the refurbishment of the college and the activities associated with the provision of the facilities commenced at that point.

I apologise for cutting across Deputy Catherine Murphy.

The Chairman has taken a big chunk of my time.

I am sorry.

My essential problem is that the focus of attention or concern seems to be on the criminal code only. I think we have a responsibility in the area where the Commissioner is the Accounting Officer. There are other laws that can be broken, including corporate and civil laws. When we are asking questions about breaches of the law, we mean the law in the full sense, not just in the criminal sense. I am concerned that the questions we are asking are being taken as different questions. Members have to give notification to the Standards in Public Office Commission and I do not separate my personal self from my professional self. The idea of recording notifications is to show where conflicts of interest might arise. That is why particular tiers of the public service, the Civil Service and An Garda Síochána are required to make such notifications. I do not understand why there has been such a lax approach to these issues. Was there any risk management in relation to reputational damage? An Garda Síochána is required to have the trust of the public. The range of things that have come out undermines that trust. Was there a risk analysis of any of this at any point within anyone's remit? I am reminded that the original letter suggested that if something was going to get out, the Official Secrets Act could be used to try to keep it in-house and resolve it.

Mr. Dónall Ó Cualáin

Yes. A formal risk management system was introduced in An Garda Síochána around 2010 or 2011. It was the responsibility of every manager down to district officer level - a superintendent for a district - to prepare a risk register for his or her respective area. When all of the sub-registers of risk were combined at the end of that process, information would have been gleaned on what the corporate risk register would look like, but it was not a very successful process. It was hit and miss and not fit for purpose as an approach. In March 2017 we introduced a brand new framework which called out the reputational, financial and other risks, starting at a corporate level. We have asked all assistant commissioners, chief superintendents and superintendents, with the assistance of a team of people well trained in this area, to ensure all of the risks will surface, be identified early and end up at corporate level where they need to be dealt with.

Can I move on to something else?

Ms Margaret Nugent

I would like to add to what has been said. After I caught sight of the first draft of the audit report, I put the need to implement its recommendations on the risk register in the Garda College for the last quarter of 2016.

Ms Margaret Nugent

It is included for the last quarter.

I thank Ms Nugent.

Mr. Barry McGee

Let me interject at this point. When the 2008 report was submitted to the chief administrative officer, Mr. Michael Culhane wrote a full advice note on notifying the Comptroller and Auditor General. It would have been construed as a risk.

On what approximate date did this happen?

Mr. Barry McGee

I think he gave us advice in May 2008.

Does Mr. McGee know why it did not go any further?

Mr. Barry McGee

I do not know.

He sent the report, as far as I know, to the chief administrative officer at the time, so the 2008 report is the CAO's report. Recommendations were put into the 2008 report, and as part of those recommendations it was mentioned-----

This was therefore seen as a risk and something that should be addressed. That was 2008.

Mr. Barry McGee

Absolutely. The advice was to disclose this to the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality. As to whether the CAO had the report subsequently, it would have been in the CAO's office. The 2008 report is the CAO's report because, essentially, while it was carried out by the finance directorate and a review was carried out, it was requested by the CAO at the time.

Does Mr. McGee know whether the recommendation was to go to the Minister? Was it sent to the Department of Justice and Equality?

Mr. Barry McGee

That I do not know.

We will have to suspend now because a vote-----

May I contribute further afterwards?

Yes, Deputy Murphy will be in possession when we return. I propose to suspend the meeting now. I wish to get members' agreement on this. We either come back at 3 p.m., which is a few hours away, or, if the voting finishes at 2 p.m., 30 minutes after the voting will be - let us just say 3 p.m. It is a neater time. Deputy Murphy-----

What will it be then? 3 p.m. to 5.50 p.m.?

3 p.m. until ten minutes before the new Taoiseach is expected to announce his Cabinet, and we do not yet know as we speak what time that will be. It is likely to be about 6 p.m.

Is there any way we can pull it back from 3 p.m.?

This is what we can agree: we will meet here at 3 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the vote for the nomination of a new Taoiseach if that is earlier. In other words, if the vote for the Taoiseach concludes at 2 p.m., we will be back at 2.30 p.m.

Mr. Joseph Nugent

Is the Chairman asking us to be here for 2.30 p.m.?

It is more realistic-----

It may be 2.30 p.m., but at the latest-----

Mr. Joseph Nugent

We will be here for 2.30 p.m.

Realistically, it is more likely to be 3 p.m.-----

I am just giving the option. Deputy Kelly asked if we could come back earlier. It may well be 3 p.m. We will return at 3 p.m. or 30 minutes after the vote concludes if that is substantially earlier.

Sitting suspended at 11.53 a.m. and resumed at 3.09 p.m.
The committee met in private session until 3.20 p.m.

We are joined by Mr. Andy Harkness from the Comptroller and Auditor General's office for this afternoon's meeting. I forgot to mention this morning that we are also joined by Ms Anne Barry and Mr. Paul McDonnell from the Department of Justice and Equality. Before we broke, Deputy Catherine Murphy was in possession. She has five minutes left.

Just do not interrupt me. To move onto another aspect, we got a document marked PAC32-R-584 for the meeting of 15 June 2017. It was an interim audit report and it is about bank accounts. It said that those accounts have been now closed or are private club accounts. Were private club accounts counted as any of the 40-odd accounts? They were counted as some of those. How many of those that still remain are private accounts and what are they for?

Mr. Joseph Nugent