In exercise of my powers under Section 40 of the ETB Act 2013, I appointed Richard Thorn, President Emeritus of Sligo Institute of Technology, to carry out an investigation into the performance by Kildare and Wicklow ETB of its functions particularly in relation to public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters. I took this action following issues raised in an audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General and subsequent correspondence between my Department and the ETB.
Dr. Thorn has submitted his report to the Department but he is currently updating it to include some clarifications sought by the Department. The matters investigated are of serious concern and the Department has referred them to An Garda Síochána. The Department is also considering legal advice. Therefore comment on the specific issues raised would not be appropriate at this time.
The matters investigated are of serious concerns to me and in light of those concerns my officials arranged for the issues to be referred to An Garda Siochana. My Department is also considering legal advice in relation to the issues. In the circumstances therefore the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot comment on any of the matters raised.
In relation to the correspondence from ISME I plan to respond to them on the issues raised.
I take governance and accountability of bodies in the education sector very seriously and it was in that context that I commissioned the first statutory investigation under Section 40 of the ETB Act 2013. My Department is continuing to work with KWETB, the C & AG, An Garda Siochana and other bodies as appropriate on the issues raised, including in the broader context of improving accountability and governance in the sector.