Saturday 20 January 2018

FG tight-lipped over 'no-show'

Patricia McDonagh

FINE Gael took a tight-lipped approach to Education Minister Mary Coughlan's failure to appear for question time in the Dail yesterday.

The silent approach from the opposition party came in the wake of a heated row about her decision to fly to the US on an Enterprise Ireland trip.

She was replaced by Junior Minister Sean Haughey, who took questions on the controversial state-training agency FAS while she took part in several engagements in Chicago.

Mr Haughey said an audit by the December 2009 European Commission into the use of funds by FAS had recorded concerns about FAS methodology in numbers, costs, tendering, procurement and contracts -- but he insisted processes were now being put in place to rectify this.

Fine Gael's Fergus O'Dowd said the audit found there was no proper paper trail in FAS dealings and said FAS was a "festering sore".

However, Mr Haughey said while there were still issues at the agency they were being dealt with by the department. He said they were not issues of malpractice, but were methodology problems.

Irish Independent

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