I propose to take Questions Nos. 623 and 624 together.
The Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) is statutorily responsible for providing a professional audit service to local authorities, including conducting external audits of local authorities and giving an audit opinion on the annual financial statements.
The Local Government Audit Service (LGAS) value for money (VFM) unit carries out VFM studies on local authority operations, with a view to identifying best practice and recommending ways of improving existing procedures, practices and systems and thereby promoting efficiency and cost effectiveness. This work has focused on undertaking national studies of single issue topics and publishing reports thereon.
The LGAS VFM Unit published a Report entitled, An Overview of Commercial Rates in Local Authorities, in December 2018. In Appendix 2 of the Report - Analysis of Rates per Appendix 7 2016 - the figure included in the table in respect of Sligo County Council, in the column entitled "write offs and waivers" was €596,089. In Appendix 3 of the Report - Analysis of Rates per Appendix 7 2017 - the figure included in respect of Sligo County Council in the column entitled "write offs and waivers" was €554,075.
I understand, that in respect of the 2016 and 2017 figures quoted in the VFM Unit Report, they correspond to the equivalent figures from the annual LGAS audits of Sligo County Council.
I am not in a position to comment on the figures referred to which it is suggested were provided by Sligo County Council officials to elected members of the Council, which may be followed up directly with the local authority itself.