We are joined today by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. Seamus McCarthy, who is a permanent witness at the committee. He is joined by Mr. Mark Brady, the deputy director of audit.
Apologies have been received from Deputy Pat Deering.
I propose we postpone dealing with the business of the committee and meet directly with the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As people are aware, he will be here until lunchtime after which he will go before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach. We will probably have a session very early in the afternoon to deal with the routine business of the committee's correspondence and to complete the periodic report that has been discussed several times in private session. That will also be in private session. We will also discuss the annual report that will be launched next week. The annual report is a statistical compilation of all of the meetings and witnesses but does not have conclusions or recommendations. It is just a summary of the work.
Before we begin I want to deal with an issue. We issued an invitation to the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure at Reform, Robert Watt, and in the letter of invitation we specifically asked for Mr. Paul Quinn to come along and for officials from the Department of Health with responsibility for the health Vote to come along. The position, and I am conscious of it, is the first reason we asked Paul Quinn to come along was we received a letter from him some time ago in his role in the Office of Government Procurement. He is also a member of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board. Our interest in Mr. Quinn relates to his role specifically on that board. Members of the board and representatives from the Department of Health have come before the committee but Mr. Quinn was not at the previous meeting. We have requested him to come before the committee. The appropriate time for Paul Quinn to come before the committee is when the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board comes back before the committee because what we want to talk to him about is his role as a director of that board. I do not have the names today but I am inclined to suggest any other public servant on that board should also be here that day. A key element of our work is the interaction between public servants and the State bodies and boards they serve on and the lines of communications with the relevant Minister.
The main issue for today's meeting is capital projects and not the children's hospital. We have dealt with the children's hospital previously and we have agreed to come back to it again as soon as the report on the cost overruns is ready, when the national paediatric hospital development board will come before the committee again. That is the meeting we will need Mr. Quinn to attend in his capacity as a director of the board and I expect he will be here on that day.
I will now throw it open to comment. It is a valid point. We read Mr. Quinn's detailed letter at a previous meeting. Some people may have read it and others may not. His line Minister in respect of his role on the board is the Minister for Health who appointed him to the board. It is a health function. Members may comment. I am laying out the context. As he pointed out in his letter, he has he has no role with regard to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in respect of his membership of the board of directors, as I understand it. People might disagree with this. His reporting structure is to the Department of Health and the Minister for Health. We said this at the previous meeting. Several members have indicated and we will proceed with the meeting. I am most dissatisfied that this invitation was issued a month ago but we learned only late last night that Mr. Quinn was not coming here today. That is a source of annoyance and aggravation.