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Sunday 20 August 2017

Gardaí in voluntary disclosure to Revenue over college

Documents sent to the PAC show that the issue of tax compliance was raised in an email from the former chairman of the Garda audit committee, Michael Howard, to chief administration officer Joe Nugent. Stock picture
Documents sent to the PAC show that the issue of tax compliance was raised in an email from the former chairman of the Garda audit committee, Michael Howard, to chief administration officer Joe Nugent. Stock picture
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

An Garda Síochána made a voluntary disclosure to the Revenue Commissioners about the tax affairs of the controversial Templemore Training College.

The disclosure came some time after a meeting of the force's audit committee had allegedly been told that such a move could "mitigate the ultimate cost".

The Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is probing financial irregularities at the college. Senior Garda officers are to be quizzed by TDs today.

Civilian Garda officials could not tell the PAC two weeks ago if organisations linked to Templemore were tax-compliant. TDs were told the force was "in discussions" with the Revenue, prompting the PAC to seek more information.

Documents sent to the PAC show that the issue of tax compliance was raised in an email from the former chairman of the Garda audit committee, Michael Howard, to chief administration officer Joe Nugent.

Mr Howard's January 9, 2017, email referred to a previous audit committee meeting that had discussed the college.

He included notes, giving his account of that meeting and drew "particular attention to the question of a voluntary disclosure to the Revenue".

Progress

Mr Howard added: "Members of the audit committee were concerned that the organisation should be able to avail of the advantages of a voluntary disclosure."

His notes from the previous meeting state that the committee welcomed progress on matters relating to the college, but asked that attention be given to "outstanding matters", including tax compliance.

The note states: "A voluntary disclosure has the potential to mitigate the ultimate cost."

Read More: Tax affairs of Garda college in spotlight

Another document sent to the PAC by the force states that an "unprompted disclosure" has been made.

It says that on receipt of the Garda internal audit unit's interim report on finances at the college: "An Garda Síochána acted promptly to ensure that all activities in the college were tax-compliant and external financial experts were engaged to assist with this work."

The disclosure covered five tax numbers; one for the force, one for Sportsfield Ltd - a company linked to the college - and three more for the restaurant, bar and shop at Templemore.

The document says that as correspondence with Revenue is ongoing, it would be "inappropriate to comment further on compliance until this process has concluded and the Revenue Commissioners have made their determination".

Irish Independent

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