Tag Archives: Seán Fleming

From top: Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Seán Fleming; clerk of the Dáil Peter Finnegan, a Komori offset printer; live link to today’s Public Accounts Committee meeting

This morning.

The Public Accounts Committee asked the clerk of the Dáil Peter Finnegan and representatives of the OPW to appear before the committee at 3pm to answer questions about the controversial Oireachtas printer.

It follows reports last night that the total cost of the printer has reached around €1.8million, €200,000 more than the €1.6million outlined by the Oireachtas two weeks ago.

It also follows the publication of Mr Finnegan’s report on the purchase of the Komori printing press, which is located in the basement of Kildare House.

Previously: “I Was Advised That The Estimated Cost Was €230,000”

Meanwhile…

The meeting can be watched in the link above or here.

This morning.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

Chair of the committee Sean Fleming, above, raised a matter he referred to as “hiding in plain sight”.

He told the committee that correspondence it received from the HSE had confirmed that PwC were last year engaged to advise the HSE about the Government’s decision regarding what to do about the National Children’s Hospital.

But, two months later, in January 2019, PwC was also paid almost €500,000 to carry out a review of the hospital’s cost overruns.

Mr Fleming said:

“It was inappropriate of the HSE to request PwC to carry out that report given that PwC, at the request of the HSE, only two months earlier were involved in the process reviewing the gross maximum cost and providing their professional and specialist input from a financial point of view to the HSE which led to the decision for the project to proceed…”

He added that it was a “gross conflict of interest” on the part of PwC and HSE were “very wrong” to commission PwC for both reports.

Mr Fleming added that the HSE also knew about the conflict.

He also said that, as Independent TD Catherine Connolly mentioned previously, while PwC wasn’t requested to give any conclusion about the best option for the hospital, following its examination in January, it did anyway and this was to conclude that the project should go ahead.

He said:

“Here we have, PwC, in a report, drawing a conclusion, saying that the decision that was made, as a result of their previous, professional input to the earlier decision-making process was the correct decision in relation to proceeding.

“I find it extraordinary…”

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said, it seemed to him, that PwC was paid twice for the same advice.

He also noted that, in the correspondence from the HSE, the HSE stated it’s satisfied there was no conflict of interest.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly asked if the Government knew that PwC had been previously been involved before it was hired in January.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said, in her opinion, such conflicts can cause “corruption of a process”.

She said the committee will likely be told about “Chinese walls” but she said the committee needs to know if the same arm of the company carried out the two reports.

Ms Murphy pointed out that there have been recent news reports in the UK about the over dominance of the four big accountancy firms [namely Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC]

In light of that, she asked:

“Do we design our rules that really don’t allow more entities into that space? I suspect that we make it much more difficult for middle-ranking firms to compete and we need to look at that. Because that would have a bearing on value for money.”

Watch back here

A clip from a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform discussing the Inquiries, Privileges and Procedures Bill 2013

You may recall journalist Ken Foxe’s ongoing efforts to obtain the invoices and receipts submitted by 22 TDs and Senators.

He’s been denied access, and has been told the expenses are ‘private papers’.

At the weekend, Mr Foxe tweeted the video clip above and called into question the differences between what was said and the official Oireachtas transcript.

This is a transcript of what was said:

Sean Fleming: “…like we have no problem. Our fobs everyday, I think it’s in the paper, our attendance, from the, our electronic papers of everyday, we fob in here, and our mileage and our expenses. There’s a whole lot of records and [inaudible] that are published.”

Brendan Howlin: “That’s procedural. They’re not private papers. It’s up to the Oireachtas itself to determine private papers but I mean there will be communications that should be privileged. There are things that should not be determined to be private papers. The Oireachtas will set those rules.”

Meanwhile…

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 12.07.18

The official Oireachtas transcript, via Kildarestreet.com.

Anyone?

Previously: Crazy Like  A Foxe

UPDATE: How could political expenses be classified as “private papers” when the Minister responsible said it should not apply to them? (Ken Foxe)