We are joined by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr. Seamus McCarthy, who is a permanent witness at the committee. He is joined by Mr. John Crean, deputy director of audit. Apologies have been received from Deputy Catherine Connolly.
Are the minutes of 26 September and 3 October agreed? Agreed. One matter arises from those minutes and I will deal with it as part of the work programme.
I shall now deal with correspondence. There are three categories of correspondence. I will start with category A. No. 2429 and No. 2439 from the National Transport Authority are briefing documents and opening statements for today’s meeting. We will note and publish these. Is that Agreed? Agreed.
Category B is from Accounting Officers or Ministers that follow up to PAC meetings and other items. No. 2348 from Mr. Martin Whelan, head of public affairs and communications, National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, providing information requested by the committee as follows: the NTMA's voluntary redundancy and retention schemes; the timetable agreed with the Central Bank and European Central Bank on the exchange of promissory notes for debt on the open market; details regarding gross national debt; how Apple records the escrow fund in its annual accounts, which we had dealt with just before the summer; clarification on the NTMA's policy with regard to investment in nuclear weapons; and the jobs supported by the NTMA and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, SBCI, including the number of jobs supported, a breakdown by category, region and company size and whether this support takes the form of a grant to individual organisations. This is the essence of why we held over the previous correspondence from the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, No. 2342. We had asked for that figure from SBCI, which came back with a breakdown of the employment in supports to small and medium sized enterprises supported by SBCI showing 148,735 people. We knew this figure was not the jobs directly created and that it related to the total employment in the companies. This correspondence from the NTMA deals with that and gives the total job numbers at 32,069, broken down by region. It is a much more realistic figure. It is an ongoing issue with regard to State bodies with double, treble, quadruple and multiple counting of the same jobs and the same employments in the figures of those they say they actually support. We now have a more accurate figure. We had been holding this correspondence over until the committee saw this clarification. Part of this correspondence includes notes on rent paid by the NTMA and any sister companies and the cost to the NTMA for its new premises. We will note and publish this correspondence. People are free to comment on that. It will be on the public record for today.