We want this in the briefing note in advance of the meeting so that we can have a productive meeting when the Department appears before us. That is noted and published.
No. 2461 is from Julie Sinnamon of Enterprise Ireland, responding to our request for an information note regarding the loan write-off to the value of €7.7 million. It is a very detailed and comprehensive letter. To summarise it, Enterprise Ireland gave a loan to an organisation, Nadcorp, in 1986. The arrangement was that for several years simple interest would be charged. It was agreed with the other investors that the loans to the organisation would, after a number of years, then commence to attract a 10% compound interest rate, which would continue to accrue. Enterprise Ireland says that as the financial position of the company never facilitated it being in a position to pay this, the repayments continued to mount up.
It states that this was a technical inclusion in the loan agreement and that is why it was recorded in the financial accounts of the company each year. A proposal was made to sell the company and Enterprise Ireland and the other shareholder sold their share in it. The other investor and Enterprise Ireland wrote off the accumulated interest. They were paid simple interest for the earlier years of the loan but the interest accumulated when the interest rate was more severe in the latter years was never collected. The company was not in a financial position to pay the money. When the shares were sold Enterprise Ireland had to write off €7.7 million of what it describes as technically accrued interest that may have been payable at a future date, even though this was in the contract. I also note that Enterprise Ireland states that the other investor wrote off a figure of €10.3 million in compound interest as part of the same transaction. Enterprise Ireland has explained the matter fully so we will note and publish the correspondence.
No. 2462 is correspondence from Mr. Gerard Dollard, CEO, Bord na gCon, providing information on the number of employees who leased cars as part of their terms and conditions of employment. The number was six. I asked questions about travel expenses and somebody asked about the number of leased cars. The information is a small follow-up reply. A considerable amount of travel is done by staff in Bord na gCon. Senior staff must physically attend all of the race meetings for a variety of governance reasons. I suggest members read the previous correspondence we discussed last week which provides a complete breakdown of a range of travel expenses, the vast majority of which was for under €5,000 per individual. The breakdown seemed fairly comprehensive. We did not raise the issue of leased cars at an earlier meeting but it was raised at our last meeting. Today's correspondence clarifies that six cars were leased. We can note the correspondence and if members want to follow up the matter, they can do so. The correspondence clarifies a minor point. We note and publish that.
No. 2463 is correspondence from Mr. Pádraig Dalton, director general, Central Statistics Office, requesting the committee's observations regarding the CSO's Statement of Strategy 2020-2030. The secretariat of the committee will collate all responses if members wish to make an input into that. I spoke to the secretariat yesterday and we are not obliged to make observations. I am pleased that the CSO has sought our views. As to what should be included, I have made a few suggestions. If other members want to contact the secretariat, we can include their observations which the CSO might take into consideration when drawing up its strategic plan. I noted a couple of issues. The risk register for the national census will come up next year. There may be categories of people, or areas, where compliance with the requirement to complete the form is not 100%. That is a risk the CSO needs to assess and build into its national census. Oversight is required for data collection by public bodies, for example, An Garda Síochána. The CSO has been strong on this but maybe it needs to go further. I also referred to the inclusion of approved housing bodies in relation to numbers on the State's balance sheet. EUROSTAT has said the large ones should be included. A broader issue for all of them now is the recording of bodies substantially funded from the public purse. In other words, there are many organisations that work almost full-time for the HSE. Should these be included in the figures the CSO collects? I am only raising the issue.
Another issue is the recording of contingent assets, which is not really done. There are certain moneys that are due to the State. For example, some employers owe money in respect of the redundancy scheme and this is only noted if it is received. People in payment arrangements with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection arising from overpayments made in the past owe a large debt. This is recorded when the payments are collected. The CSO should have a system for recording the total debts or the total amount collectable in assets, rather than just recording those payments that it receives.
Those are my personal observations. If anyone wants to include anything in the letter, he or she should contact the secretariat. I thank the CSO for asking us for our views. We note and publish that. I ask any members of the public who read this letter to make observations to the CSO if they are so inclined.
No. 2467 is correspondence from Mr. Derek Moran, Secretary General, Department of Finance, responding to our request for information on the fees paid to barristers. I want to hold this matter over because Deputy Alan Kelly who specifically asked about this issue will be late. I suggest we hold it over in fairness to the Deputy. There is awful stuff in this. The Department is not going to tell the committee which barristers it paid millions of euro. In deference to the Deputy who raised the issue, we will hold it over. We will note and publish it. Deputy Kelly asked that we hold it over to the next meeting for discussion.