Gardaí allegedly blocked probe into Templemore scandal

The Public Accounts Committee heard from seven civilian officers today

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A member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has described further revelations today about financial irregularities at the Garda training college as 'GUBU territory'.

The committee today heard of alleged attempts to prevent the internal auditor from getting access to information about the issues at Templemore.

It also heard that Gardaí are currently in negotiations with the Revenue Commissioners about tax compliance for the college.

Labour's Alan Kelly says he finds the revelations unbelievable, and suggested it was a 'crisis for our country'.

Two senior civilians in the Gardaí told the PAC earlier that they cannot express full confidence in all senior management of the force.

Head of internal audit, Niall Kelly and head of human resources John Barrett are among a number of witnesses before the committee on financial irregularities at the Garda training college.

The executive director of finance today withdrew his previous assertion that the draft audit report was "unprofessional, misleading and mischievous".

Mr Kelly and Mr Barrett then told Alan Kelly they could not express full confidence in the senior management.

The Irish Examiner recently saw the dossier which outlines what members of the committee were told today by seven civilian officers. 

Among them is the head of the force's internal audit unit, Niall Kelly who told them that information was deliberately withheld by his 'direct superiors'.

An interim report published by Mr Kelly last March, showed that the Training College had a web of more than 40 bank accounts.

He told the committee that he's not convinced the cover-up culture has changed in the Gardaí.

 

Earlier this month, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan described the claims as 'unacceptable', but couldn't say if the law had been broken

Public money 

Mr Kelly told PAC that there's been an attempt to undermine him since his report revealed public money was being spent on private clubs and entertainment.

He said that between 2008 and 2011 "some people did not want the newly appointed and very independent internal auditor [Mr Kelly]" to look "too critically into the Garda college", and that "these people included my direct superiors."

He also said "I was informed legal issues were being advanced in regard to the land and employee status and until they were resolved it would be unwise to commence an audit."


He also said that he was misinformed by the force and that Garda head of legal affairs, Ken Ruane was advising him from July 2015 onward that an internal audit should be requested immediately.