Saturday 25 January 2020

McMahon 'can't quit' company with Garda college link

Garda Asst Commissioner Anne-Marie McMahon
Garda Asst Commissioner Anne-Marie McMahon
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Garda Assistant Commissioner Anne-Marie McMahon has said she wants to "get out" of a controversial company linked to the Garda training college at Templemore.

However, she said she can't quit as a director of the Garda College Sportsfield Company Ltd, as she was asked by Garda management to stay on until it is wound up.

Ms McMahon made the remarks to the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC). TDs are probing financial irregularities at Templemore that were detailed in an interim report by the Garda Internal Audit Unit.

The report recommended the Sportsfield company be wound up and all associated assets, including golf course land, should be taken into State control.

A 2005 law prohibits gardaí from being involved in land contracts. The Sportsfield company has had Garda directors going back to its establishment - with the aim of developing sports facilities - in 1993.

The auditors' report said the legal standing of the actions of Garda directors since 2005 is "questionable".

Ms McMahon began working at the Garda college in 2011. She said legal advice at the time was that because the Sportsfield company was already in existence, the 2005 law didn't retrospectively apply.

She said she began examining the company in 2013 and became "concerned" at the role of Garda members as directors. She said she initiated a process aimed at winding up the company and bringing the land into the ownership of the Office of Public Works.

Ms McMahon said she has "no personal interest" in the company and "got no benefit from it good, bad or indifferent".

She said she had no interest in becoming a director. "I'm still a director. I want to get out of it. I cannot get out of it," she said.

Asked by Seán Fleming TD why she doesn't resign, Ms McMahon said that she was asked by Garda management to remain until the company is wound up.

Irish Independent

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