Revelations regarding garda handling of multi-million Euro contracts "very disturbing"

Labour's Alan Kelly says the revelations will have to examined by the Oireachtas

Revelations regarding garda handling of multi-million Euro contracts "very disturbing"

File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Vice Chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee has said new revelations over garda management of multi-million euro contracts are ‘very disturbing.’

It follows an internal Garda audit which has raised concern over Garda procurement practices and the forces handling of at least one multi-million Euro, IT contract.

The report, obtained by RTE's This Week programme, has warned that “no assurance” can be provided that procurement rules and best practice are being properly followed.

The auditors reportedly failed to uncover a paper trail for the updated terms of one major IT contract – which is believed to be worth over €25m annually.

The report suggests the updated terms of the contract may have been “verbally agreed” by garda management.

Labour's Alan Kelly says the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will be examining the report and the issues raised:

“The volumes of money we are talking about here are quite huge – they are in the multi-million Euro category,” he said.

“Really this is an issue that is going to have to come back before the PAC.

“The questions I put forward previously were not adequately answered. When they were brought forward at the PAC they were not answered appropriately either.

“We now see from this internal audit form An Garda Síochána, the tendering process, the procurement process and recording of hours leaves an awful lot to be desired.”

He said the report highlights how procurement practices in relation to large-scale annual contracts – leaves a lot to be desired.

“There is a lack of tendering,” he said.

“And also there is a lack of electronic supervision – recording of work, recording of hours – that senior staff members from one large contractor are doing for An Garda Síochána.”

Deputy Kelly said the problems are not restricted to best practice with the document also unearthing the forces insistence on remaining with the same contractor.

“There seems to be an embeddedness within the gardaí - in particular in HQ - of the use of one contractor,” he said.

“There has been a lack of tendering. There are loads of questions.”

Reporting from Teena Gates ...