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PAC to examine financial management of Fishery Harbour Centres

15 Oct 2014, 17.14

The Committee of Public Accounts will tomorrow consider serious lapses in the financial management of Ireland’s six Fishery Harbour Centres, which were highlighted in a Special Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, published in April.

15 October 2014

The six centres are Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere, Dingle, Rossaveal and Killybegs.

Tom Moran, Secretary General at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine and Finbarr Kelly, Principal Officer (Sectoral Policy Division) at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be appearing before the Committee.

Committee Chairman John McGuinness TD says: “Tomorrow’s meeting will see the PAC examine the Special Report No 82, which highlights the difficulties encountered by the C&AG audit over a number of years in relation to the six Fishery Harbour Centres. The Report concludes that income is not being maximised in the centres, with the Exchequer still funding 75% of day-to-day and capital costs. The Committee will be keen to explore why parking fees, rental income and some statutory harbour fees are not being charged at some centres.

“For instance, the PAC will wish to ask why the car park at Rossaveel that was expected to generate €580,000 annually before operating costs only generated a net income of €11,000 in its first 12 months of operation. Meanwhile, the loss of parking fee income at Howth is estimated between €250,000 and €400,000 annually. The Report also points to deficiencies in debt collection, with no credit control in place. The Committee will examine why, as of June 2013, €5 million was still owed to centres, with a bad debt provision of €3 million.
“The six centres comprise significant assets, which are clearly not being used to their full potential. The Committee seek to assess why there are 54 properties where no lease agreements were in place and why no asset register available to support the asset figures recorded in the accounts. We will also question witnesses on the significant delays in the preparation of annual accounts for the period 2008 to 2011, and why the audit opinion on the 2007 annual accounts did not issue until December 2011.”
The meeting takes place tomorrow 16 October in Committee Room 1, LH 2000 at 10 am. Public proceedings can be viewed online here:

Committee proceedings can also be viewed on the move, through the Houses of the Oireachtas Smartphone App, available for Apple and Android devices.

For further information please contact:
Paul Hand,
Communications Unit,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2

P: +3531 618 4484
M: +353 87 694 9926

Committee Membership
Áine Collins, Fine Gael
Paul J. Connaughton, Fine Gael
Joe Costello, Labour Party
John Deasy, Fine Gael
Robert Dowds, Labour Party
Seán Fleming, Fianna Fáil
Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Féin
John McGuinness, Fianna Fáil (Chairman)
Eoghan Murphy, Fine Gael
Derek Nolan, Labour Party
Kieran O’Donnell, Fine Gael (Vice-Chairman)
Shane Ross, Independent