The Shame of Ireland

The Shame of Ireland

Public Accounts Committee Thursday, 13 October 2016 Raised the Subject of Caranua

Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Public Accounts Committee

Business of Committee

9:00 am

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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Before we meet Mr. Brian Rowntree, a member of the NAMA Northern Ireland advisory committee, I want to deal with the other items on the agenda. Are the minutes of 6 October agreed? Agreed. Are there any matters arising from the minutes? Nothing special arises today from the minutes.

We will go through correspondence received since the last meeting. Items Nos. 91A and 101A cover briefing material in respect of the appearance of representatives of the Revenue Commissioners. That is noted and has already been discussed. Items Nos. 97B(i), 97B(ii) and 97B(iii) are associated with an e-mail received from Pádraig Corkery of NAMA with copies of correspondence from Cerberus to NAMA relating to the payment of success fees. That is noted. The correspondence is not complete as it does not include the e-mails from NAMA to Cerberus or internal e-mails relating to same. When the NAMA chairman, Frank Daly, was before the committee, he read from an e-mail in connection with the undertaking from Cerberus to NAMA and he referred to the documentation from Cerberus to NAMA. We would like to see the e-mails that went from NAMA to Cerberus which led to that e-mail. We have only received one side of the correspondence and we will follow up on the rest. Item No. 99B is an e-mail from Declan Reid of the Department of Finance on the six directions that the Minister of Finance made to NAMA since 2010. That is noted and will go on our file. Item No. 97C relates to an e-mail from an individual enclosing a newspaper article on Project Eagle. I suggest we note this as well.

Items Nos. 96C(i), 96C(ii) and 96C(iii) are associated with an e-mail from an individual drawing attention to the allocation of €720,000 in September 2016 for the provision of Irish language coaching to Gaeltacht children. The individual believes that the moneys will be wasted. He encloses some details on the scheme and a record of Dáil Deputies speaking on the revival of Irish. As this relates to a policy and implementation of a programme about to begin, it is not within our remit. We can only look back at expenditure. There is no evidence that money has been wasted. We note this and we will inform the individual and suggest that he should bring it to the attention of the Joint Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands. Is that agreed? Agreed. Deputy Catherine Connolly is involved in that committee. We will pass that over to the Deputy.

Items Nos. 98C(i)and 98C(ii) are associated with an e-mail from Deputy Catherine Connolly and an attachment entitled papers from the First Minister following 14 October 2015 briefing session. The third and fourth pages were referred to by the Deputy during the meeting with the Minister last week. This relates to Project Eagle. We note this on our file. The next item is an e-mail from Declan Reid of the Department of Finance with follow-up information from last week's meeting. We note this correspondence.

Next we will deal with reports, statements and accounts received. We will put the list on the display screen for committee members. Since the last meeting some documents have been received. The first one is headed Ciste Pinsean Tithe an Oireachtais. This relates to funds and pension benefits for former Oireachtas Members and surviving spouses and children. It has a clear audit report. The next item is the national training fund. This fund is used to raise the skills of those in unemployment and to provide training to unemployed persons. It has a clear audit report. The Teagasc report for 2015 has a clear audit report. The Arts Council 2015 accounts also have a clear audit report.

The next page on the screen relates to the Residential Institutional Statutory Fund, Caranua. The fund was established in 2013 and oversees the use of cash contributions pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of survivors of residential institutions child abuse. A fund of approximately €100 million was accumulated and the document refers to a remaining balance of €69.3 million. There statement from the Comptroller and Auditor General refers to statements on internal control and discloses that the board did not have an internal audit function in place during 2014. He states that the board did not carry out the required annual review of its effectiveness of systems and internal controls. Furthermore, weaknesses in the board control over grant payments in 2014 were identified and the statement refers to the steps taken by the board to remedy these witnesses. That is not a clear audit report and I do not want to let this go. I have received correspondence in my constituency clinic from some of the people who have applied for grants but who have been refused. Now that this has been brought before us, I will pass this over to the committee. I call on the Comptroller and Auditor General to comment.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

The statement on internal financial control deals more comprehensively with these issues. If the committee members review that statement, they will have an idea of the kinds of weaknesses and so on that exist. This was effectively the first year of operation of Caranua. It was established in 2013 but there was little spend that year. The organisation was putting systems in place. Caranua was struggling with having the right number of staff and continuity of staffing as well as getting its systems in place. It has taken some time to get the financial statements for 2014 completed. Currently, the financial statements for 2015 are being audited.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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When will they be completed?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

I expect them to be completed in the next month or six weeks.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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In the meantime I will ask the secretariat to circulate the annual report to each of our members. It will save each of us going off individually to look for it. We will return to that topic.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

I am finishing a report on residential institutions redress to draw together the full experience over the period from 2003 to 2015. This was when the bulk of the residential institutional redress process was completed. I expect to have the report finished, probably by the end of November.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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Will you be submitting that to the Minister for Education and Skills?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

That will go to the Minister for Education and Skills.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister will have up to three months to publish.

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

Yes.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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We will certainly come back to this topic. Will the Comptroller and Auditor General be covering the fund in the Caranua organisation as part of the review?

Mr. Seamus McCarthy:

Part of the report deals with Caranua. Its financial statements will be available and hopefully the statement for 2015 will also be available.

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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It would be very important, even if it is in the new year, that we would afford time in our work programme to study carefully and inquire into the report that the Comptroller and Auditor General is completing.

Photo of Alan KellyAlan Kelly (Tipperary, Labour)
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I was going to make the same point.

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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We are agreed on that. We will certainly come back to it. The next item is the work programme. Essentially we have agreed it. The Department of Social Protection is the only entity that has been scheduled for a normal meeting which will take place next Thursday. The Revenue Commissioners were here this morning.

As there is no other business we will suspend briefly to allow the witnesses to come in.

Sitting suspended at 3.01 p.m. and resumed at 3.03 p.m.

Further Reading

Questions Survivors would like to ask the Public Accounts Committee...

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I wish some of these people or even one of these people was in an industrial school and had to experience the way survivors are being treated by this board. Even complaint to the minister of education the modern day punches pilot are dismissed and complaints are told to contact Caranua the organisation set up by his government what a sham

mary lou mc donald a shiner wait till next year . it goes to show how much mary lou cares about us we have waited to long

already we haven't got the time to wait around . a lot of us won't be around next year mary lou why can't this be sorted today

now today close down caranua and put mary higgins in prision for being corrupt and for giving our money back to the phedos

in the church the phedos with deep pockets and short memery .james fox 

Have Just Sent An Email to the Public Accounts Committee

You can view it by Clicking <HERE>

Hi Rob, excellent!! Maybe we should all send an email to Mr. McEnery Clerk to the Public Accounts Committee stating that survivors should be asked about Caranua and their treatment by same!!

ThanX Barbara!

In the interest of Tidiness I have continued to update this Correspondence where I originally Posted it

<HERE>

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