Tag Archives: Garda college

From top: Head of internal audit at An Garda Siochana Niall Kelly; head of human resources at An Garda Siochana John Barrett


At the Public Accounts Committee.

The Garda College interim audit report – which lays out serious financial irregularities at the college in Templemore, Co Tippeary – will be further discussed.

Those expected to attend include:

Niall Kelly – Head of Internal Audit (author of the audit report); John Barrett – Executive Director, Human Resources and People Development; Michael Culhane – Executive Director, Finance and Services; Ken Ruane – Head of Legal Services; Joseph Nugent – Chief Administrative Officer; Michael Howard – former Head of the Garda Audit Committee.

Readers will recall how on May 4, during a PAC meeting, Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said she first learned of the issues at Templemore from head of human resources at An Garda Siochana John Barrett during a “very brief conversation” on July 27, 2015 while they were having tea.

Mr Barrett maintained it lasted for more than two hours.

Further to this, Mr Barrett later released a 122-page file to PAC, which contained a letter he had written to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of An Garda Siochana Cyril Dunne, on September 20, 2015, giving details of the meeting.

Those who were present at the meeting included Mr Barrett, Ms O’Sullivan, Mr Dunne, Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin and Assistant Commissioner John Twomey.

This letter can be read here.

In addition.

Readers will recall how Niall Kelly explained, in his interim report of February 2017, that he deleted a paragraph (above) from the final version of a report on the Garda College in 2011.

He claims he deleted the paragraph after he was assured that the issues were addressed by Executive Director, Finance and Services Michael Culhane.

At the PAC meeting of May 4, Mr Kelly said he felt he had been “duped” and that he was caught in the “circling of wagons”.

During the PAC meeting, Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane  had the following exchange with Mr Kelly and Mr Culhane.

David Cullinane: “Page 14 of the report refers to the Garda Commissioner and 2 March 2011 and contains a paragraph which says “no assurances were given”. That paragraph was removed and deleted and Mr. Kelly said this was because he was given assurances.”

Niall Kelly: “I was provided with a summarised report from Mr Culhane and assurances that the issues were being dealt with.”

Cullinane: “Did Mr. Culhane give the assurances to Mr. Kelly?”

Michael Culhane:I did not give them directly to Mr Kelly. It went to the CAO [Cyril Dunne] showing the progress that had been made on some of the issues.”

Cullinane: “However, the assurances were given by Mr. Culhane. The CAO was the conduit but the assurances were given by Mr. Culhane.”

Culhane: “I did not give assurances. I gave an update on the report.”

Cullinane: “However, Mr Kelly saw this as assurances because he said he deleted the paragraph because of assurances that were given.”

Kelly: “Yes. I had conversations with the audit committee.”

Cullinane: “Who gave Mr. Kelly the assurances he talked about?”

Kelly: “I got the report. I spoke to the CAO at the time. I spoke to the chairman of the audit committee at the time. It had gone to the Commissioner. The note had come back from the Commissioner, in the margins of the letter back from the Commissioner, that this report should be provided to me. I had highlighted my issues to the highest level in the organisation. Ultimately, my role is an advisory role.”

Cullinane:Everyone is passing the buck.”

Kelly: “I am not passing the…”

Cullinane: “I do not say Mr. Kelly is here. He deleted a vital paragraph based on assurances that action was being taken. Who gave him those assurances?”

Kelly: “The CAO primarily.”

Cullinane: “Who did he get them from?”

Kelly: “From Mr Culhane.”

Cullinane: “That is what I am trying to establish exactly. Mr Kelly’s view now is that those assurances were not worth the paper they were written on. Would that be a fair...”

Kelly:That would be true. I would also say that it was a mistake on my part to delete that paragraph.”

Cullinane: “Mr Kelly is brave enough to accept that he made a mistake.”

Kelly: “Absolutely.”

Cullinane: “I commend him on that. Does he feel he was duped?

Kelly:I do.”

Cullinane:Does he regret that he was duped in that way?”

Kelly: “Yes.”

Cullinane: “Who does he believe duped him? Perhaps he should name offices rather than individuals.”

Kelly: “I think that is an unfair question to ask. It could be a range of people.”

Vice Chairman Alan Kelly: “In the interest of fairness, does Mr Kelly feel it was multiple people or one person?

Kelly: “Reference was made to culture. There was a different culture at that stage. There was a culture of circling the wagons and I got caught trying to bang into the wagons.”

Cullinane: “Does Mr. Kelly agree that the culture of An Garda Síochána up to 2015 was to circle the wagons rather than to accept there was wrongdoing and correct it? Would that be his view as head of internal audit?”

 Kelly: Speaking now, having gone through the past five years and writing this report, that is the only conclusion I can come to.”

Tomorrow’s PAC meeting, in committee room 3, will take place over two sessions, at 9am and 5pm.

Those who wish can watch it live here

Previously: Out In The Cold

‘I Was Counselled To Be Very Careful’

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From top: Garda College, Templemore; John Barrett, executive director of human resources and people development at An Garda Siochana; Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan

You may recall how the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, was the subject of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting last Thursday.

It followed PAC receiving, last March, a 44-page Garda Internal Audit Section (GIAS) report on serious financial irregularities at the Garda College and a further 13-page interim audit report in relation to how the recommendations of the GIAS report were being implemented.

The interim audit report on the recommendations was carried out by the head of internal audit Niall Kelly.

Among those attending last week’s PAC meeting included Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan; Kenneth Ruane, head of legal affairs;  Joseph Nugent, chief administrative officer, Deputy Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin, with responsibility for governance and strategy; Michael Culhane, executive director of finance and services; John Barrett, executive director of human resources and people development; and Mr Kelly.

Readers will recall how, during last week’s PAC meeting, Ms O’Sullivan maintained that this meeting was “a very brief conversation” while they were having tea, while Mr Barrett maintained that the meeting last for more than two hours.

Specifically, Ms O’Sullivan said:

“On the 27th of July, I believe there was a very brief conversation in a room after a meeting in Templemore, in which Mr Barrett raised certain issues specifically around some work he was doing when I was present along with the two deputy commissioners and the chief administrative officer. My recollection [as regards the length of the meeting] is very brief.”

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan before the justice committee in March


At 2.30pm.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan will appear before the Public Accounts Committee to discuss the recent audit of the Garda College in Templemore which showed serious financial irregularities. It examined financial transactions between 2009 and 2015.

Readers will recall how Ms O’Sullivan described the irregularities as “legacy issues” in an interview with Seán O’Rourke shortly after the story first broke in The Sunday Times.

Ahead of the meeting, the committee’s chairman Seán Fleming, of Fianna Fáil, said:

“The findings of an internal audit carried out by An Garda Síochána have highlighted serious issues in relation to financial controls and mismanagement of funds at the Garda College in Templemore.”

“The audit of the Garda College has raised a number of concerns in relation to compliance with standard accounting practice and corporate governance. It is important that an effective system of internal financial control is maintained and operated by An Garda Síochána in all areas of it operations.”

“[Today] we will meet with Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan to discuss the report in more detail as it relates to the appropriation accounts. The committee will be keen to ascertain how budgetary control is exercised within An Garda Síochána and what changes have been implemented to address the serious issues which have arisen in relation to the college.”

Members of the Public Accounts Committee are: Alan Farrell, FG; Alan Kelly, Labour; Bobby Aylward, FF; Catherine Connolly, Independent; Catherine Murphy, Social Democrats; David Cullinane, SF; Josepha Madigan, FG; Marc MacSharry, FF; Mary Lou McDonald, SF; Noel Rock, FG; Peter Burke, FG; Sean Fleming, FF; Shane Cassells, FF.

G’wan the Catherines.

Watch live from 2.30pm here

Previously: ‘I Knew Full Well It Hadn’t Been Discussed At PAC Because I’m A Member Of PAC’

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Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and Justice Minsiter Frances Fitzgerald

The Public Accounts Committee received a 44-page Garda Internal Audit Section report on serious financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore on Monday.

It looked at financial transactions at the college from 2009 to 2016.

It also received a further 13-page report in relation to how the recommendations of the GIAS report are being implemented.

The GIAS report was the subject of an article by John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, on January 22, in which Mr Mooney reported, among other things:

Auditors discovered that 37% of all expenditure linked to the college’s laundry service account in 2008 had nothing to do with laundry. Instead €7,231 was spent on meals and entertainment, €2,150 was given to parish clergy, €1,040 to the golf society and €300 spent on jewellery and gifts. A loan facility was also operated from the account with amounts of up to €500 being borrowed and repaid.

The audit discovered 50 bank accounts in total and said the current system of banking had resulted in a “non-transparent system of accounting”.

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan was asked about it on the Today with Seán O’Rourke show the following day – saying twice during the interview that the concerns raised were “legacy issues”.

This morning chair of PAC, Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming said PAC will be asking the general secretary of the Department of Justice and the Garda Commissioner to appear before PAC to discuss the reports.

From the executive summary of the GIAS report….

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This morning, Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy spoke to Cormac Ó hEadhra, who was filling in for Seán O’Rourke, about the report and why she believes the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald mislead the Dáil about the matter on February 9 of this year.

From the interview…

Cormac Ó hEadhra: “This was discussed by Sean O’Rourke with the Garda Commissioner in January, I think. This question of financial irregularity. You raised this question with the Minister for Justice in the Dail, Catherine Murphy, on the 9th of February of this year. And she, in a way, she said this was related to the past, it was stopped and we’ve dealt with it in a way that she used words, with Sean O’Rourke, like ‘legacy issues’, ‘they span back a number of years’. What do you make of that now? Based on what you’re hearing.”

Catherine Murphy: “First of all, I think I was given very misleading information. I raised it at Leaders’ Questions with Frances Fitzgerald in February and it was in the context of the Garda [Maurice] McCabe that was being set up at the time. And I looked for this report to be published. She told me that it had been, it was in the public domain, it had been discussed at length by the justice committee. To be perfectly honest with you that was news to me. I then went back to the office. My staff contacted the justice committee and was told there was no such discussion, so I contacted the Tanaiste’s office again after I put in a lot of PQs, and after five weeks, she said that she had misspoke, that it was actually, it was actually sent to the Public Accounts Committee.”

“Now I had written to the Public Accounts Committee, looking for it to be, looking for the Public Accounts Committee to seek a copy of this report. I knew full well it hadn’t been discussed at the Public Accounts Committee because I’m a member of the Public Accounts Committee. So I feel, I feel I was misled in the Dail by the Tanaiste on this and indeed the report…”

Ó hEadhra: “But she did refer to an audit and in fairness to the minister, we, I quote her now: ‘that was in the public arena’, she says. ‘Questions were answered on it in the justice committee well before it was. Detailed information was put on the record about the audit and the actions that were being taken internally to deal with what had been uncovered by the audit of the college. That is the reality of the situation,’ she says. She may have got the committee wrong but she said it’s being dealt with.”

Murphy: “No it was not dealt it. It wasn’t dealt with at the justice committee. I made exhaustive searches to see. It wasn’t dealt with at the justice committee. What came into the public arena came out as a consequence of a newspaper article in The Sunday Times written by John Mooney. It didn’t transpire as a consequence of a news report as a consequence of a debate that had happened at any committee in the Dail. What I was looking for was that this report would be actually given to the justice committee or would be given to the Public Accounts Committee and that the minister would publish it.”

Ó hEadhra: “Ok, so do you believe the Minister misled you in the Dail? She’ll contest that obviously, I assume. What do you expect her to do now?”

Murphy: “The very first thing is that she should correct the record because it’s not correct to say that it’s discussed anywhere, at any committee, it wasn’t.”

Garda misuse of public money exposed in audit (John Mooney, January 22, 2017)

Garda College kept secret bank accounts (John Mooney, Aaron Rogan, March 29, 2017)

Listen back in full here