Thursday 22 March 2018

No new insights in OPW article

Sir -- Eamon Delaney's article headed 'Waste and fraud but FF means never having to say you're sorry', and subtitled 'New revelations ought to mean they're finished, but Fianna Fail doesn't do sackcloth and ashes', (Sunday Independent, September 25, 2011), purported to be a commentary on the recent report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) for 2010. Seeing that the article honed in on the problems and overruns of the history of the OPW accompanied by my photograph, any reader, including myself, could reasonably have concluded that the C&AG's report contained fresh and renewed criticism of that project. In fact, there is not a single line about it, and the criticism is a rehash from the previous report of 12 months ago.

Some facts are in order. The OPW history project started in 2002 at the instigation of OPW management, when the Minister of State in charge was Tom Parlon of the PDs. When I took up the position in May 2008, I was briefed that the book would be out by Christmas.

When it became increasingly clear that there was no prospect of actual completion in the near future, it became necessary to find a way of drawing a line under the project and cutting our losses. I agreed that approach while Minister. As I understand it, the contract was terminated in June.

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