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Dail committee suspended following heated row between TD and Comptroller & Auditor General

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John Perry

John Perry

John Perry

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has been suspended amid a heated row between committee member John Perry and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The heated exchange came at the end of a session with representatives of small businesses who were deeply critical of the Government's procurement policy.

Mr Perry, a former minister for small firms, sought to defend the National Procurement Office, tackled Seamus McCarthy, the C&AG over his failure to carry out a value for money audit of the NPO.

Mr Perry said some "dreadful allegations" had been made at the meeting and put Mr McCarthy under sustained pressure.

The C&AG strongly hit back saying that he does not do a value for money audit of all State agencies every year, but that each organisation are required to achieve and demonstrate value for money in their purchasing.

It took a visibly annoyed PAC chairman John McGuinness to intervene who suspended the meeting having overruled Mr Perry.

The PAC will also hear today from the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Robert Watt.

Earlier, the committee also heard new allegations of how the HSE has awarded some contracts to former staff, without a tendering process.

The claims are made in a comprehensive dossier sent to the PAC, a summary of which has been received by members.

The dossier, seen and reported on by Independent.ie two weeks ago, includes claims which centre around cases where contracts were awarded to companies led by former HSE staff, or where ex-HSE workers are now on the payroll.

Mr McGuinness says some former HSE staff members have made huge money from unadvertised contracts.

Waterford TD John Deasy says he's particularly concerned about the allegations on nursing homes, especially given the recent scandals of abusive behaviour in those facilities.

They include cases where the HSE has paid former staff members for spaces in care homes, without first investigating whether better deals could be found elsewhere.

Online Editors