No. 830 is correspondence from Ms Mary Lawlor, senior communications and public affairs manager with the National Asset Management Agency, dated 18 October. It is information requested by the committee arising from our meeting with NAMA on 30 September 2021. NAMA states:
Approximately 2,450 units were deemed unsuitable or were not required by local authorities at the time. Such units were then offered to the open market for sale by the debtor/receiver.
Another 2,000 units subsequently became unavailable; as part of a live portfolio, they were sold or let, on the open market, by the NAMA debtor/receiver in order to repay debt.
Where demand was confirmed and the unit remained vacant and available, NAMA endeavoured to facilitate delivery of the units for social housing and provided funding for any required remediation works. As at end-August 2021, NAMA had delivered 2,629 units for social housing from its secured portfolio.
It is proposed to note and publish this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. Deputy Carthy wished to raise this issue. I do not know if he has joined us but the information is there from Ms Lawlor of NAMA. There are two charts on the back of the correspondence that show the amount of housing offered and the amount of housing taken up. Members can see the information for themselves. Does any Member wish to comment? No.
I propose that we take Nos. 841 and 845 together as they concern RTÉ. I will summarise each of them. No. 841 is correspondence from Mr. John McKeon, Secretary General, Department of Social Protection, dated 22 October, in which he provides information requested by the committee on the examinations by the Department and the Office of the Revenue Commissioners of RTÉ’s treatment of certain individuals as contractors who should have been treated as employees. In terms of Revenue’s collection of PRSI from RTÉ, the Secretary General notes that Revenue’s organisational tax audit of RTÉ incorporated PRSI between 2015 and 2018. The Secretary General states that it is not possible to say at this point what level of PRSI liability, if any, will arise from the Department’s own investigation. It includes over 500 contractors and will start from their original dates of engagement with RTÉ. The Secretary General states that the process can be complex and demanding and says:
RTE is fully engaged in this process and is cooperating fully with the Department as are the contractors with whom the Department has engaged. Given the number of individual contractors involved and the duration of contracts to be considered, this investigation will take some time to complete.
No. 845 is correspondence from Ms Vivienne Flood, head of public affairs, RTÉ, dated 21 October, in which she provides information requested by the committee on the Revenue Commissioner’s audit report and defamation settlements. In terms of the audit report, RTÉ states that it cannot supply a breakdown of the contractors concerned due to personal data considerations relating to the GDPR. However, RTÉ do confirm that the contractors cover a broad range of roles and pay scales. From our previous item of correspondence we know that this involves some 500 contractors.
As regards the committee’s request for a copy of the Revenue Commissioner’s audit report, RTÉ states that to the best of its knowledge no formal report was prepared. RTÉ does provide the letter of confirmation from Revenue on its audit, which confirms that Revenue accepted over €1.2 million from RTÉ in respect of Revenue’s conclusion that some individuals treated as contractors should have been treated as employees.
In the context of defamation settlements, RTÉ states that the total amount paid for media settlements for the period 2010 to date is more than €10.4 million. This amount does not take into account refunds from RTÉ’s insurers.
No. 851B is correspondence from Ms Dee Forbes, the head of RTÉ. She declined our invitation to attend today on the basis that she is unavailable. As Members are aware, RTÉ has indicated that it can come before the committee in early January, which is the next slot available. Is it agreed that we proceed with our engagement with RTÉ on that date? Agreed.
We will have representatives from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, which is RTÉ is subject to, before us later this month. That Department provides funding to RTÉ and ensures that it has a clear line of accountability. In the first instance, I ask that Members raise any governance or control issues with the public funding provided to RTÉ and we can follow up on any such matters in January.
I propose that we note and publish the two items regarding Revenue and the Department of Social Protection. Is that agreed? Agreed.
Deputies Carthy and Catherine Murphy have flagged these items.