Sunday 25 February 2018

Garda Commissioner denies misleading PAC over Templemore audit

Garda Commissioner Noirin OÄôSullivan during a press briefing at Farmleigh House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Garda Commissioner Noirin OÄôSullivan during a press briefing at Farmleigh House, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Ryan Nugent

THE garda commissioner has denied misleading the Public Accounts Committee – despite discrepancies over a meeting she held in relation to an audit on the garda college in 2015.

During an appearance before the PAC, Commissioner, Noirin O'Sullivan and head of HR, John Barrett had contradictory time differences over a meeting held on financial irregularities at the garda college, in 2015.

Ms O'Sullivan claimed the meeting, which took place on July 27 2015 – and was in relation to a slush fund for the garda boat club amongst other gifts and entertainment – was “brief”.

However, Mr Barrett has claimed the meeting lasted over two hours.

A transfer of €100,000 was made to the boat club - which has been described by Fine Gael TD, Alan Farrell as "embezzlement".

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Speaking this afternoon, Ms O'Sullivan would not address the length of the meeting but insisted that “under no circumstances” did she mislead PAC yesterday.

“Regardless of how long the meeting took place in the garda college, I think the issues speak for themselves,” she said.

“Mr Barrett as line manager in the college, when he became aware of issues that raised alarms with him, he raised them with his line manager. His line manager raised them with myself and the two deputy commissioners on the 27th of July.

“On the 28th of July there was a group formalised and that group met therafter, The important thing is there was always full transparency around these issues.

“Under no circumstances did I mislead the committee. The fact is that as I say, that after the meeting on the 27 July, irrespective of how long it took, immediate steps were taken to address all of the issues,” she added.

The Commissioner also denied any knowledge of wealth within clubs at the garda college, while being stationed there for six months as a Superintendent in charge of specialist training, in 2000.

“I can say as a matter of record, I have never been involved in the garda boat club and never been involved with any of the clubs in the garda college,” she said.

“I was in charge of specialist training, so I was in charge of detective training, farms training and driver training, so that was my focus,” she added.

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