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Garda auditor claims information withheld from him since 2008

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Head of the Garda Audit Unit since 2007, Niall Kelly

Head of the Garda Audit Unit since 2007, Niall Kelly

Head of the Garda Audit Unit since 2007, Niall Kelly

The civilian auditor in the Gardaí is to claim that information on finances at Templemore Training College was "withheld" from him as far back as 2008.

Niall Kelly, the head of the force's internal audit unit, is to be quizzed by the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on his interim report on finances at Templemore Training College.

Mr Kelly was appointed head of the Garda Audit Unit in 2007.

He is to claim that between 2008 and 2011,"that some people did not want the newly appointed and very independent internal auditor from looking too critically into the Garda College".

Mr Kelly is to claim that this included certain senior officials in the force and that when he made enquiries on the issue "information was withheld from me" and that this is "apparent" from email correspondence.

An interim report by Mr Kelly's internal audit unit, published last March, showed that the Training College had a web of more than 40 bank accounts. Some were used for purposes other than those for which they were intended, including entertainment and buying gifts.

Mr Kelly is also expected to claim today that some Gardaí don't think accountability applies to them.

His submission to the PAC, seen by the Irish Independent, claims that there is a culture in the force "that thinks An Garda Síochána is different from other public sector bodies and that the normal processes of financial procedures and transparent democratic accountability do not apply".

Mr Kelly is among a number of senior officials to appear before the PAC today.

Earlier this month, it emerged Mr Kelly alleged the Garda college in Tipperary had "offshore bank accounts".

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A dossier obtained by the Irish Independent gave details surrounding the bank account linked to the laundry services at the training college.

It said there were "certain malpractices" linked to the laundry service that would be "disallowable under normal circumstances".

The documents detailed how the account was used to give loans to staff, pay bonuses and fund entertainment and sporting expenses.

It was found that there was a lack of "financial control" over the laundry account, which received €1 from every student through an account linked to the college restaurant.

The laundry bank account also received money from European Union (EU) training funds designated for police forces.

The documents also revealed how Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan turned down advice that she should immediately notify Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald about the financial irregularities.

There were also claims by the head of finance and services, Michael Culhane, that Mr Kelly, warned that "people would be led away in handcuffs," as a result of the issues at the college.

It further claimed an "altercation" took place in Garda headquarters last November amid bitter tensions between officers involved in investigating the financial scandal.

The dossier showed the scandal surrounding the notorious 'slush fund' ran far deeper than previously feared.


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