Multiple investigations underway at garda college, PAC is told

Nóirín O'Sullivan is answering questions over irregularities at the college in Templemore

Multiple investigations underway at garda college, PAC is told

Nóirín O’Sullivan speaking at the Public Accounts Committee | Image: Oireachtas screenshot

The Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) she cannot say who controlled an account at the centre of fraud allegations.

Commissioner O'Sullivan said the account, alleged to have be used for European money, was open between 1999 and 2010.

When she was first questioned, Ms O'Sullivan said the signatory to the account predated her term, and that of her predecessor.

PAC member Alan Kelly of Labour asked who had control of the account.

Commissioner O'Sullivan replied: "The head of internal audit has advised and referred the matter to me, suggesting suspicious activity has taken place in this account.

"There is due process and fairness to individuals - I'm sure the committee will appreciate that - (that) has to to take place.

Asked what rank the people hold, Commissioner O'Sullivan replied: "A retired senior officer."

Asked again what rank they held Commissioner O'Sullivan added:"I think, Deputy, by my divulging that here would be tantamount to identifying an individual and I don't think that's appropriate".

Earlier, the PAC heard how multiple investigations into suspected fraud at the garda training college are now underway.

Commissioner O'Sullivan revealed the matter is now with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC), the Policing Authority and the European Commission auditors OLAF.

She says she only became aware of the suspicion of fraud last Friday.

"The head of the garda internal audit section provided me with a verbal briefing on concerns he had in relation to particular financial matters relating to activities in the garda college.

"Following this meeting I requested a written report from the internal audit service to be provided on Monday.

"I reviewed the report yesterday, and based on the information available the matter has now been referred to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission for investigation," she told the PAC.

Commissioner O'Sullivan's previous testimony has been contradicted at the PAC by senior civilian garda officials.

It has been claimed the commissioner knew about problems with the finances of the Templemore college earlier than she has admitted.

Suspected financial fraud at the college could run to six figures, according to new reports.

The Irish Independent claims the fraud squad has been called in to investigate alleged financial irregularities.

Labour's Alan Kelly is chairing the meeting of the PAC.

Speaking before proceedings began, he said: "The evidence throws up serious, serious questions about who knew what when in relation to the garda college in Templemore.

"It is also apparent to us that there is contradictions in evidence."

"We need to find out once and for all what the garda comissioner knew and when.

"We also need to make sure what the role of (an) accounting officer is, and her responsibilities under that".