Mary Lou McDonald: Templemore is "a case study in the shambolic"

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, she said the situation is "like something from Father Ted"

Mary Lou McDonald: Templemore is "a case study in the shambolic"

Mary Lou McDonald speaking to the media | Image: RollingNews.ie

A member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has described the financial situation at the Garda Training College as "a case study in the shambolic".

Yesterday, the PAC heard top level management did not move quickly to address financial irregularities at Templemore.

The head of an internal review told the committee information was withheld from him during his investigations.

Mary Lou McDonald, a member of the PAC, said the situation is like something from Father Ted.

"It was a case study in the shambolic," she told Newstalk Breakfast. "We saw the unedifying scenario of the most senior civilian executives within An Garda Síochana openly contradicting each other."

From her position. McDonald said she was hearing of "an account of collusion".

"Nobody watching those proceedings yesterday could be left with anything other than the horrible vista of absolute chaos, and of a culture that is literally toxic within the ranks."

Noirín O'Sullivan

McDonald said the number of questions Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan needs to answer grows every day.

"She needs to clarify in precise detail exactly what she knew about Templemore, and more to the point, what she did or didn't do about this point."

After O'Sullivan was advised by Head of Legal Affairs Ken Ruane, McDonald said the commissioner had a duty to inform the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

"She failed to do that," she said. "And for me, and the Commissioner and others might argue that these are legacy matters, but this also a very current and contemporary issue.

"Noirín O'Sullivan will have very serious questions to be answered when we see her."

Yesterday, the committee 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.

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 withdrew his previous assertion that the draft audit report was "unprofessional, misleading and mischievous".