The business before us is the minutes from previous meetings, accounts and financial statements, correspondence, our work programme, and any other business. The minutes of our meeting of 5 May were circulated to members. Do members wish to raise any matters? Are the minutes agreed? Agreed. As usual, the minutes will be published on the committee's web page.
No financial statements and accounts were presented to the Oireachtas Library between 2 and 6 May 2022. We will return to this item next week.
Moving to correspondence, as previously agreed, items that were not flagged for discussion for this meeting will continue to be dealt with in accordance with the proposed actions that have been circulated, and decisions taken by the committee in relation to correspondence are recorded in the minutes of the committee’s meetings and published on the committee’s web page.
The first category of correspondence under which members have flagged items for discussion is correspondence from Accounting Officers or Ministers or both, and follow-up to meetings of the Committee of Public Accounts. No. 1217 B is from Mr. David Moloney, Secretary General, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, dated 28 April 2022, enclosing the minute of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in response to our report on the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board’s 2019 financial statements. Our first recommendation was that the report outlining the timeline and estimated costs for the completion of the national paediatric hospital be published as a matter of urgency. We have requested sight of it on a number of occasions. The response to the recommendation, which is not accepted, restates the board and the Department’s position that the analysis is commercially sensitive and “must remain confidential at this time, so as to ensure that the NPHDB’s ability to enforce the contract is not prejudiced, and ultimately the project is not adversely affected.” In our latest correspondence with the Department on this topic, we asked for clarification as to whether the report could be provided to the committee on a confidential basis, and we await that clarification.
Our second recommendation, which was accepted, included a number of changes that will improve transparency in the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board’s accounts in respect of expenditure on this project, and that is welcome.
Our third recommendation was that future capital projects of this scale prioritise value for money, which was also accepted, and that a comprehensive review is carried out following completion of the project to ensure lessons are learned for future capital projects. This is a requirement under the public spending code and will be done.
It is proposed to note and publish this correspondence. Is that agreed? Agreed. Deputies Catherine Murphy and Carthy have flagged this item for discussion. I ask Deputy Carthy to try to be brief.