Sunday 18 March 2018

TDs seek legal advice in bid to quiz former SIPTU boss

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

TDs are to seek legal advice on how they can force a union official who controlled a multimillion-euro 'slush fund' to be hauled before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Members of the committee want to question former SIPTU official Matt Merrigan about the €4.4m fund, which allowed union members to engage in extensive foreign travel.

Gardai are investigating the fund, which was administered by Mr Merrigan.

TDs are meeting Oireachtas legal advisers in a closed session of the PAC tomorrow to discuss how Mr Merrigan can be compelled to appear to answer questions about the lavish expenses racked up by union members using the fund.

The efforts to get Mr Merrigan before the committee come as new details of spending using the SIPTU/HSE training fund have emerged including:

* The names of more than 20 individuals who travelled on various junkets around the globe, at a cost of €598,000.

* Destinations included New York, Boston and Savannah in the US as well as Lanzarote, Hong Kong and Australia.

Mr Merrigan has refused to appear before the PAC, telling it that he couldn't testify while the matter is the subject of a garda fraud investigation.

His absence prompted Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell to comment that last week's PAC session was like "Hamlet without the prince".

Irish Independent

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