Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Questions (176)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

176. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to update the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16247/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Article 33 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Comptroller and Auditor General to control on behalf of the State all disbursements and to audit all accounts of moneys administered by or under the authority of the Oireachtas.

The constitution also provides that the Comptroller and Auditor General shall be appointed by the President on the nomination of Dáil Éireann and that he shall report to Dáil Éireann at stated periods as determined by law.

The main statutory functions of the Comptroller and Auditor General are as Comptroller General of the Exchequer, to ensure that no money is issued from the Central Fund except for purposes approved by the Oireachtas; and as Auditor General, to audit Government accounts for accuracy and regularity, and to carry out such examinations as he or she considers appropriate in regard to economy and efficiency on the use of resources and the effectiveness of certain management systems

The core duties of the C&AG, in conducting an audit of central Government financial statements is to ensure the financial statements properly present the transactions and balances, and that transactions have been “regular”. The latter essentially means establishing that the State’s money was properly used or handled in accordance with lawful authority.

The Comptroller and Auditor General's role is to provide independent assurance that public funds and resources are used in accordance with the law, managed to good effect and properly accounted for to contribute to improvement in public administration.

I have no plans at present to update the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act, 1993. However, as set out above I will keep this matter under review and should the need arise to amend the existing legislation I will bring forward proposals to do so. As one immediate example, the OECD are currently finalising a report on reforms to financial reporting in Ireland which may have relevance in this area. I expect to receive that report shortly.