In fairness, we are fairly thorough. If we are not happy, we do not let much go once we receive the information in writing. However, because of its sheer volume, it has us snowed under. The point has been well made. We need to discuss it one of the days in private session.
The next item is No. 1538, correspondence received from Mr. Ray Mitchell, providing further information.
No. 1560 is correspondence received from Dr. Barry O'Connor, Cork Institute of Technology, which we have held over, but we will come back to it. We will also hold over No. 1561. There is nothing new in any of it. However, No. 1609 is new. It is correspondence, dated 2 October 2018, received from Mr. Derek Finnegan of the parliamentary affairs division of the Department of Health on a capacity review, providing information requested by the committee on the health service capacity review, including details of the audit of empty beds in public hospitals. We will note and publish the correspondence, to which we will come back.
No. 1614 is from Mr. Nick Reddy, private secretary to the Taoiseach, in response to our inquiry regarding data protection issues and commissions of investigation. This seems to be a copy; we dealt with the matter previously. The letter states that changing the terms of reference of a commission of investigation would not change the general law which applies to commissions of investigation and data protection. In other words, the Taoiseach was saying that they have powers of the High Court when carrying out their investigations. In the context of data protection, therefore, they can make their own orders regardless. We will publish that.
The next item is correspondence held over from the last meeting. There is correspondence from Mr. Mark Griffin, Secretary General, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. We have noted it before and we hold it over.
No. 1572 is related to the previous item. We have noted it and held it over.
Nos. 1605 and 1616 relate to the remediation of a landfill site in County Wicklow. We will note and hold that over. At our meeting on 27 September, we agreed to send the response from the Department to the correspondent and last week we noted that the secretariat had done this. The individual has since responded to say that he believes the issues will be ventilated and resolved in due course. We note this correspondence.
Nos. 1611 and 1612, dated 4 October 2018, are from an individual regarding human resources, HR, practices in the HSE. We sent the individual a response received from the HSE which confirmed that all divisions of the organisation and the section 38 agencies were notified of the provisions of the agreement and of the necessity of advising those who had been unsuccessful in their applications for regularisation or who had otherwise not received any outcome to their applications. This further correspondence requests that committee make inquiries with the HSE regarding evidence that it circulated the circular to the relevant staff. I propose to forward the item to the HSE - in redacted form, if necessary - for a response to the questions raised. This is an ongoing issue. The HSE claims that it informed everybody about this matter regarding one of the pay agreements. People could apply for regularisation. Members of staff are saying that they never received notice and, as a result, we want the HSE to prove its statement that people were notified. If there was a breakdown in communication from the top level to the people on the ground, we need to know where it happened.
No. 1613 is correspondence, dated 29 September 2018, from an individual questioning the Department of Defence's spending on ships at a time when, according to the correspondent, wages and allowances are driving personnel out of the Naval Service. Essentially, this correspondence states that we have eight naval ships but only enough staff for seven. The Naval Service is bringing a ninth ship into service. There might only be sufficient staff for six by the time that vessel comes into service. While this is a staffing issue, it is also a financial issue because what is the point in having nine vessels if we do not have the people to man them? We are writing to the Secretary General of the Department of Defence for a detailed response.
No. 1615 is from a co-ordinator in Chartered Accountants Voluntary Advice. We dealt with this at a previous meeting. The secretariat has already sent the transcript to the correspondent and communicated the decision of the committee which was that we considered the matter closed at our previous meeting. I think the correspondence essentially crossed in the post; that is all.
No. 1617 dated 5 October 2018 is from the whistleblowers who corresponded with the committee regarding issues at the University of Limerick. We had said that we would meet them and they are inquiring about where that stands. The Comptroller and Auditor General's report on handling of remuneration for certain senior staff in the University of Limerick and the Institute of Technology Sligo is related to this and is with the Minister. We expect to receive it shortly. I propose that we arrange a meeting following that to engage with the two whistleblowers mentioned. We will inform them accordingly. I ask the secretariat to set up the meeting with those people and to come back to us with a time for it.
No. 1623 is correspondence from Deputy David Cullinane providing radio clips relating to Waterford Institute of Technology and the McLoone report. Does the Deputy want to speak about this?