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View Full Version : HSE asks Gardai to investigate Millions Paid to Siptu for Staff Training / & HSE Nepotism charges



C. Flower
13-06-2010, 10:08 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/article7149152.ece

Yet another can of worms has opened itself, this time involving payments from the HSE to SIPTU. The idea of a Trade Union operating as a service provider to management is a curious one.



THE Health Service Executive (HSE) has asked gardai to investigate what happened to more than €2.3m it gave to Siptu for staff training.
The health service’s annual report, to be published on Wednesday, will reveal improprieties in a training programme for lower-grade healthcare staff. An internal HSE audit has been unable to account fully for €2.35m paid to the trade union between 2002 and 2009 as part of the Skill project.
HSE auditors had concerns over a series of foreign trips, airline flights, taxi journeys, meals and other expenditure over a five-year period from 2004. One source described the expenditure as looking like a “mini-Fas”, a reference to the lavish spending on foreign travel at the state training agency.

C. Flower
13-06-2010, 10:27 AM
A separate report says that the HSE is accused of nepotism, with children of Senior Managers placed in jobs which weren't advertised.
http://fastproxy.co.za/browse.php?u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pbmRlcGVuZGVudC5pZS9uY XRpb25hbC1uZXdzL2hzZS1pbi1uZXBvdGlzbS1yb3ctYXMtYm9 zc2VzLWNoaWxkcmVuLWdldC11bmFkdmVydGlzZWQtcG9zdHMtM jIxODk5Ny5odG1s&b=31

Andrew49
13-06-2010, 11:24 AM
Then there's the €100 million loss the HSE has made in the four months to April .... though it's really good to note that they are desperately worried enough about the €2.35 million to call in the Gardai.

Link (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0612/1224272354152.html)

Xray
13-06-2010, 12:01 PM
Then there's the €100 million loss the HSE has made in the four months to April .... though it's really good to note that they are desperately worried enough about the €2.35 million to call in the Gardai.

Link (http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0612/1224272354152.html)

You need to watch the pennies or the pounds are never saved. There is a question in my head about he timing of this, but anyone wasting money be they workers, unions people or politicians need to be called out. There is no excuse for waste or not accounting properly for public money or business.

C. Flower
13-06-2010, 12:02 PM
You need to watch the pennies or the pounds are never saved. There is a question in my head about he timing of this, but anyone wasting money be they workers, unions people or politicians need to be called out. There is no excuse for waste or not accounting properly for public money or business.

2.3 million would pay for a fair amount of child care - or for that matter, would have paid for a couple of qualified economists who could have saved us tens of billions.

Xray
13-06-2010, 12:05 PM
2.3 million would pay for a fair amount of child care - or for that matter, would have paid for a couple of qualified economists who could have saved us tens of billions.

If someone takes 23 euro that is not theirs I think they need to be held to account for that. We have a culture here where the guys at the top are unaccountable, no need for the rest of us to follow them into the gutter. Maybe there is nothing to this story, I have no idea, but I see no argument for not investigating it.

Murra
13-06-2010, 12:14 PM
Makes you wonder just how much has been wasted over the years, particularly during the celtic tiger years.

Of course, the Newspapers have their part to play too. Even if these types of scandals had been unearthed by good journalists over the years, the editors would have buried them. They're all in it together.

Andrew49
13-06-2010, 12:41 PM
You need to watch the pennies or the pounds are never saved. There is a question in my head about he timing of this, but anyone wasting money be they workers, unions people or politicians need to be called out. There is no excuse for waste or not accounting properly for public money or business.


'Accountability' and 'the HSE' have never to my knowledge appeared in the same sentence - except this one! :rolleyes:

Xray
13-06-2010, 12:51 PM
'Accountability' and 'the HSE' have never to my knowledge appeared in the same sentence - except this one! :rolleyes:

Under the health board system there was a form of local democratic accountabilty, the main purpose of the setting up of the new system seems to have been to remove that in my opinion.

C. Flower
13-06-2010, 01:36 PM
Under the health board system there was a form of local democratic accountabilty, the main purpose of the setting up of the new system seems to have been to remove that in my opinion.

I think you're right. For all the flaws of local democracy in Ireland, its actually reasonably transparent and accountable compared with the centralised quangos.

BrendanGalway
13-06-2010, 01:43 PM
Makes you wonder just how much has been wasted over the years, particularly during the celtic tiger years.


Allow Mary Harney to address your fears. In the PD documentary on RTE tomorrow night, she opines :




In the documentary, Health Minister Mary Harney said the huge amounts of cash spent by Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats during the Celtic Tiger were justified. She said: "Over a billion went into supports for old people and there were a lot of new roads. It would be foolish for anybody to say the spending that was under way was wasteful."



Im not sure if its :D or :rolleyes: or :mad: thats required.

Fing Fers
13-06-2010, 10:37 PM
HSE can ask away, nothings going to happen. We are mugs the whole lot of us.

ang
17-06-2010, 01:17 AM
Update on this:-


SENIOR OFFICIALS in Government departments and the Health Service Executive took part in foreign trips funded by a controversial staff-training programme which is the subject of a Garda investigation.

The HSE’s skills programme was aimed at upskilling support staff and line managers across the health service in non-clinical services such as catering, housekeeping and portering. However, a confidential internal audit carried out by the HSE raised concerns about weaknesses in governance and the control of funds disbursed in respect of the programme.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0617/1224272700998.html

C. Flower
17-06-2010, 03:39 AM
Update on this:-



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0617/1224272700998.html


As this may possibly be heading to Court, we may need to be careful what we say about it from here on in.

ang
17-06-2010, 03:46 AM
Yes we will. I assume we are ok linking to media rather than offering any personal opinion.

C. Flower
17-06-2010, 04:49 AM
Yes we will. I assume we are ok linking to media rather than offering any personal opinion.

Yes, exactly, thanks.

DCon
17-06-2010, 02:03 PM
DoF getting involved.

Investigation or cover up I wonder..


The Secretary General of the Department of Finance has ordered an internal audit into a controversial training fund that is the subject of garda inquiries.

HSE Chief Executive Brendan Drumm yesterday confirmed that €2.35m had been channelled from the Department of Health to SIPTU.

However, Prof Drumm was unable to say what the money was for.
Advertisement

SIPTU President Jack O'Connor has reiterated that his union did not receive any of the €2.35m.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0617/hse.html

Captain Con O'Sullivan
17-06-2010, 02:07 PM
I note the concern about taking care as this issue looks like it may well be a matter for the courts.

I have one question though- if the matter has already been handed to the Gardai to investigate why are the Dept of Finance ordering an audit well after the fact? Why not let the Garda investigation take its course?

Or are we looking at another DoF water-muddying exercise?

Digout
17-06-2010, 02:58 PM
As this may possibly be heading to Court, we may need to be careful what we say about it from here on in.

Yeah right, court is for people that dont pay TV licenses and other small offenses. Stealing money from the state is not a crime under the FF junta.

C. Flower
19-06-2010, 06:13 PM
Front page of today's Times - the money was paid into a SIPTU account named "SIPTU national health and local authority levy fund" as was used to pay for "study visits to the US, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK involving Government officials, trade union members and Health Service Executive officials"

Transparency and financial control issues...
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2010/0619/1224272871381.html

Partnership must have been a lot of fun.

DCon
19-06-2010, 07:27 PM
Front page of today's Times - the money was paid into a SIPTU account named "SIPTU national health and local authority levy fund" as was used to pay for "study visits to the US, Australia, Hong Kong and the UK involving Government officials, trade union members and Health Service Executive officials"

Transparency and financial control issues...
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2010/0619/1224272871381.html

Partnership must have been a lot of fun.

so a slush fund for jollies then.

PaddyJoe
20-06-2010, 02:02 AM
Given the example Mary Harney and John O''Donohue set its hardly surprising..

http://i47.tinypic.com/6qk552.jpg

DCon
20-06-2010, 09:32 AM
The plot thickens:


The internal audit that exposed the unaccounted for €2.35m criticises the HSE for transferring the money into the bank account without demanding proof of how it was spent. It has emerged that the State funds were paid into a bank account which was set up in the name of Siptu, but the trade union said it never received the funds and has instigated an internal inquiry.

The account was apparently set up without the union's authority.


An official from the Department of Health and one from the Department of Finance were among those who took part in the trips, prompting inquiries to ensure that foreign travel protocols were not breached.

The cost of the trips has not been quantified because the financial records, invoices and receipts were not maintained and there was no way of proving how the money was spent. "The invoicing and paper trail is not what it should be," according to a HSE source. "There are no receipts so where is the verification? Our own internal audit can only take it so far."

The internal audit found that the study trips were funded in a manner that ensured the expenditure would escape scrutiny. Many of the expenses associated with the trips were unvouched and receipts for hotels and other travel costs were not kept.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/siptu-badly-managed-836423m-grant-from-hse-2228113.html

Lucky for those involved, there will be no repercussions.

Maybe early retirement and a golden handshake but that will be it. If the DoF were involved in any way, FF will protect.

Béal na Bláth
20-06-2010, 11:42 AM
Jack O'Connor did not like one bit when Vincent Browne put it to him that he had mellowed in the extreme regarding the Croke Park deal compared to the bombast of last year.(We'll bring the country to a standstill yada yada etc). Was this missing money and the imminent Garda investigation into SIPTU the catalyst to the softening of his cough I wonder?

Still isn't it great to know you can still win Businessman of the month even when there are such serious allegations against your organisation.

Pat De Baker
25-06-2010, 01:30 PM
Fine Gael has called on Minister for Health Mary Harney to make a statement on a controversial training fund, which is now the subject of a garda investigation.

It has been reported that 31 overseas trips were paid for from the €2.35m fund.

The fund was channelled from the Department of Health to the trade union SIPTU, via the Health Service Executive.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0625/hse.html

Captain Con O'Sullivan
25-06-2010, 01:33 PM
Strange how 2.5million can be lost in the post between HSE and SIPTU. I suppose considering the money was spent it must have turned up somewhere or are we again into the Twilight Zone where no-one knows notten and one red-faced chair occupier can feel the eyes of their colleagues on his/her neck....

disability student
25-06-2010, 01:41 PM
Where are the financial internal controls ?? It seeems that HSE played fast and loose with their money.

It reminded me of my ex university (Disability office), who recieved a disabled support grant on my behalf from the HEA (Higher Education Authority) but they placed it in their bank for three months to earn interest on their accounts. Then i called the HEA as they were stunned to hear this. I was left waiting for a laptop along with other supports for months which caused me an added stress. That money in part came from EU structural funds.

I could only say that govt dept totally lacked the internal controls for checking to ensure money is in place and is spent along with receipts etc. That is to ensure the responsibility & accountability and it's used for the right purposes as stated in their application forms for funding.

C. Flower
25-06-2010, 01:50 PM
Merged threads (Greengoose please note :))

greengoose
25-06-2010, 01:54 PM
Merged threads (Greengoose please note :))

Yes M'am! ;)

DCon
25-06-2010, 02:03 PM
Where are the financial internal controls ?? It seeems that HSE played fast and loose with their money.
.

The State's money you mean

disability student
25-06-2010, 02:10 PM
The State's money you mean

Yeah of course. You could ask yourself what's wrong with HSE as they don't keep a track of their money and of where they are going to? It's essential that they would maintain an internal controls to prevent overspending or fraud for that matter.

DCon
25-06-2010, 02:12 PM
Yeah of course. You could ask yourself what's wrong with HSE as they don't keep a track of their money and of where they are going to? It's essential that they would maintain an internal controls to prevent overspending or fraud for that matter.

The HSE was designed to not be accountable. It allows our useless politicians claim "that is a matter for the HSE" when asked any health questions.

Recipe for disaster

disability student
25-06-2010, 10:07 PM
Now is the recent news that SIPTU are suing the HSE re non co-operation when they have asked them to provide them the HSE report re misuse of 2.3M.

Source:http://www.examiner.ie/breakingnews/ireland/siptu-to-begin-legal-action-against-hse-463097.html

disability student
25-06-2010, 10:13 PM
The funds that HSE gave to SIPTU only confirms that there is a relationship between the big corporation such as HSE or the GOVt and the big Unions. It also confirms that there is a relationship between the top knobs of SIPTU and top tier of FF people. Mary Harney is a FF in disguise as Pd's are all ex ff themselves.

So now the general public will question SIPTU's motives now and in the near future as they no longer trust them after this misuse of funds scandal. So they are a party or an accessory to the FF govt in general. More like SIPTU iwas/is FF's political wing.

Béal na Bláth
25-06-2010, 11:44 PM
More of this breaking


The Health Service Executive is submitting a formal complaint to an Garda Síochána about a controversial €2.35m training fund whose accounts have been queried.

A HSE Internal Audit Report found that the fund had been used to pay for 31 foreign trips to Australia, America, the UK and Hong Kong, but was unable to account for the money spent - or the reasons for spending it.

€250,000 a year had been paid from the Department of Health via the HSE into an account called the 'SIPTU National Health and Local Government Levy Account.'
However, SIPTU has categorically denied that the funds went into any account under its control.

A union official is currently the subject of internal enquiries in relation to this matter.




Full news item (http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0625/hse.html)

DCon
28-06-2010, 09:53 PM
If in doubt, deny.




The head of the Unite trade union in Ireland has said that no officials of his union took part in any of the foreign trips funded from a controversial €2.35m training fund which is currently the subject of a Garda investigation.

Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said he was not aware of any Unite involvement in any of the 31 trips which a HSE internal audit found had been financed from the fund.

However, IMPACT, the country's largest public service union, has not responded to a number of queries as to whether any of its officials travelled to any of the destinations; which included New York, Los Angeles, Australia, the UK and Hong Kong.

HSE Chief Professor Brendan Drumm has said €250,000 a year was 'channelled' from the Department of Health and Children to SIPTU - but was unable to say what the money was for, or how it was spent.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0628/hse.html

ang
03-07-2010, 01:55 AM
Former IBEC chief to lead independent investigation :-


THE HEALTH Service Executive has appointed Turlough O’Sullivan to carry out an independent investigation into compliance arrangements surrounding contentious matters relating to its Skill project.

This independent investigation follows on from an internal HSE audit of the project. Some of the issues are currently the subject of a Garda investigation.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0703/1224273903768.html

PaddyJoe
03-07-2010, 02:09 AM
Former IBEC chief to lead independent investigation :-



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0703/1224273903768.html

Small world. IBEC's former director of economic policy and former chairman of FAS Brian Geoghegan is Mary Harney's husband. That's a lot of the trouble with Ireland. A few hundred people who all know each other run the place.

C. Flower
03-07-2010, 02:09 AM
Former IBEC chief to lead independent investigation :-



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0703/1224273903768.html

Turlough O'Sullivan ? It's a wonder he wasn't on any of the trips.

The idea that IBEC, which also got Government and Union money, didn't run junkets, would be for the birds.

ang
03-07-2010, 07:49 PM
Seems to be a somewhat strange choice of investigator.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
03-07-2010, 08:07 PM
Corruption. As Paddy has pointed out and I believe his estimate is correct there are around 300 people who are operating policy and regulatory systems in Ireland and who are entirely corrupt.

Thats a small group of people and we should be listing them on a thread.

C. Flower
03-07-2010, 08:10 PM
Corruption. As Paddy has pointed out and I believe his estimate is correct there are around 300 people who are operating policy and regulatory systems in Ireland and who are entirely corrupt.

Thats a small group of people and we should be listing them on a thread.

No we shouldn't. If we have proof, we should take it to the Gardai and post here that we have handed evidence over and expect it to be investigated.

Respect to the two people who went to the Gardai over Callery's expenses.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
03-07-2010, 10:28 PM
Always assuming that the Gardai are not being spiked. I'm aware of the difficulties in compiling a list of people here but I would like to try to put names of 'influencers' who we feel have performed pretty badly given their responsibilities.

It would be inappropriate to label them with charges or on issues on which they have not been convicted.

My suggestion rather is to list under sector categories those people who appear to have underperformed whether that be in terms of ability or governance. It would be opinion based and spark a good debate I imagine but I hear you re the potential legal difficulties.

Let me have a think and check back with you CF. There are no problems that are insurmountable.

ang
04-07-2010, 07:39 AM
More accusations of nepotism :-


This weekend, the Sunday Independent has learned the children of another three senior managers in Dublin were appointed to clerical grade-three positions on a temporary basis to aid in the administration of the Back to School Scheme. However, these people are still in their posts over a year later.



http://www.independent.ie/national-news/hse-at-the-centre-of-nepotism-row-again-2245564.html

disability student
04-07-2010, 02:49 PM
Seems to be a somewhat strange choice of investigator.

Yes very strange choice which would indicate a whitewash investigation. His name and also his connections to IBEC and the corporate world. It's hardly inspiring choice isn't??

C. Flower
04-07-2010, 02:54 PM
Yes very strange choice which would indicate a whitewash investigation. His name and also his connections to IBEC and the corporate world. It's hardly inspiring choice isn't??

One of the key figures of the whole "Partnership" edifice. Was IBEC itself getting funding from the Trade Unions and from Government ?

This "training" merrygoround seems to have been another way in which Union leaders were kept in a comfort zone.

disability student
04-07-2010, 02:55 PM
One of the key figures of the whole "Partnership" edifice. Was IBEC itself getting funding from the Trade Unions and from Government ?

This "training" merrygoround seems to have been another way in which Union leaders were kept in a comfort zone.

I would think it would merit a separate thread on IBEC and where did they get the money from? Who were these backers and core of influences??

C. Flower
04-07-2010, 02:57 PM
I would think it would merit a separate thread on IBEC and where did they get the money from? Who were these backers and core of influences??

This is something that Shane Ross wrote a good bit about - if you did a Shane Ross Ibec search I think you would find some gems.

mosby
04-07-2010, 05:44 PM
Why does the HSE have to appoint Turlough O'Sullivan to investigate which members of its staff travelled on the Skills trips.
Obviously as the 'culture of secrecy' - as stated in the Ombubsman report a few days ago, is alive and well.

disability student
04-07-2010, 06:07 PM
Ok let me guess:

HSE -> FAS-> IBEC -> bankers-> CIF->FF

Mary Harney ( Ex minister for Fas) along with her hubby ex FAS boss and also IBEC Brian Geogehan , Turlough O Sullivan Seanie Fitzaptrick/ Richard Bouchier/Sean Dunne- Tom Parlon- FF (@top tier).

Conflict of interest??

Béal na Bláth
06-10-2010, 11:36 PM
The plot thickens....

RTE - SIPTU lodges €348,000 with Commissioner (http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/1006/hse.html)

SIPTU has lodged €348,000 with a Commissioner for Oaths to cover potential liabilities for reimbursement of controversial expenses highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General and a HSE Internal Audit Report.

This follows revelations about questionable expenditure of money intended for training that was paid into a SIPTU-named account.

However, SIPTU has consistently denied that it had any role in or knowledge of the bank account through which controversial SKILL funds were managed, although the account bore its name and the signatories were SIPTU members.

C. Flower
07-10-2010, 01:14 AM
The obfuscation is extraordinary, from both sides -


In his annual report, the Comptroller and Auditor General highlighted a sum of €348,322 which had been paid into the account, known as the Siptu national health and local authority levy fund, by way of reimbursement of a number of costs, including expenses for Skill programme conferences, travel and subsistence.

The comptroller said that so far, the HSE had been unable to satisfy itself that all of the amounts claimed and paid as reimbursements, represented expenditure properly incurred for the purpose of the Skill programme.

Union sources said last night that the amount lodged by Siptu with a commissioner for oaths was on the basis that this was the sum identified in the comptroller’s report. However, sources said that this did not mean that Siptu would be repaying that amount. The union said that it had never been consulted with regard to money paid into the account.

“We never received an annual report on the account or details of a single transaction conducted through it. It was never audited by our internal or external auditors. We were never once queried by the HSE in relation to this account until we were contacted by its audit team in September 2009.

“However, conscious of our role as a civil society organisation, we are endeavouring to assist in clarifying all the matters at issue. Moreover, we have informed the HSE that, without prejudice, any payments in respect of reimbursement of expenses which cannot be properly vouched will be repaid.”

T

Does anyone know anything about these junkets, and who went on them ?

Are SIPTU members asking questions ?

C. Flower
07-10-2010, 07:38 PM
It's unravelling. More on Primetime tonight.

Two senior officials in SIPTU were signatories in a bank account into which the HSE paid money, unaccounted for.
http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/union-chiefs-signed-account-involved-in-expenses-row-476854.html

Mick Tully
07-10-2010, 07:59 PM
I am at a loss to understand why the HSE would pay a union to train staff for the HSE. Would this training be to do with, not to thread on the toes of the people above' you and look the other way in case you f!!!!d things for us all. Please explain someone if you can figure it out. While all this skuldgery was going on the people on the trollys waited longer.
Middle management and senior hang your head in shame,if you have any left.Go on SIPTU you can rule ye have the basics under control.

C. Flower
07-10-2010, 09:46 PM
Prime Time asking "Why?", "Why?", "Why?"

DCon
07-10-2010, 09:48 PM
Prime Time asking "Why?", "Why?", "Why?"

I like that the HR guy on Prime Time was given a EUR 60 Million training fund on Day 1.

Surely he should have established what training was needed and then requested a budget for it. Could be 5 Million, could be 50.

Why just give him 60 Million on a use it or lose it next year basis?

Bertie Basher
07-10-2010, 09:56 PM
noaccountability.com that is little ireland.

it's all bertie and co's fault.

Mick Tully
07-10-2010, 11:28 PM
Former IBEC chief to lead independent investigation :-



http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0703/1224273903768.html

IBEC to led an independent investigation, why not put a few fat cats from SIPTU on the same, maybe they could get together and give us a bottle of smoke and save them looking for their expences to do so.

ang
25-03-2011, 07:14 PM
An internal SIPTU report into this fund has been released this afternoon:-


An internal report carried out by Siptu has criticised two senior union figures over the administration of a controversial bank account into which millions of euro in State funding was lodged within the knowledge of the leadership.

The report of a sub-committee of Siptu's trustees, which was published this afternoon, says €4.493 million was paid into the account known as the Siptu national health and local authority levy fund, since it was opened in 1998.

The Siptu trustees' report says that the account had been opened without the authorisation of the union’s general officers or the head of finance and administration

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0325/breaking49.html

C. Flower
25-03-2011, 07:34 PM
Thanks. I noticed that Jack O'Connor said it was "possible" that this was done without knowledge of the Union "authorities".

I notice the IT says that the account was opened "without authorisation".

I wonder does it confirm anywhere that Jack O'Connor did not know about the account.

C. Flower
27-03-2011, 05:23 PM
The Sunday Business Post has a report on this today. Jack O'Connor says that the "high ranking union officials" who operated this unauthorised account as a slush fund of public money "did not break any rules".

For crying out loud.

Please, SIPTU members, awake from your torpor and get these people (including O'Connor who is working overtime to protect them) sacked.

"According to O'Connor, there was no rule "that explicitly prevents what happened" and the union was now seeking to address this by changing the rules. The fact that Merrigan and Kelly named the account "levy fund" meant it did not come to the attention of management, as these types of funds - of which there were more than 30 in the last decade - were usually set up to assist members with grants or hardship payments and were independently controlled by branches." I find this very odd and would love to hear what the branches say about it.

SIPTU have employed Senior Counsel to "investigate the employment relationship matters" of Merrigan. I wonder who will investigate O'Connor's responsibility for all this as full time general president of the Union?

SIPTU propose to hire consultants to advise on changes to administration and governance.

Do the Union members who fund this bean feast have any say in the matter at all ?

Captain Con O'Sullivan
27-03-2011, 05:28 PM
Move the 'Abandon Democractic Principles In Favour Of Violent Retribution' clock forward one slot there please Collette.

Thank you.

PaddyJoe
14-12-2011, 06:39 PM
PAC to continue its examination of the operation of the unofficial SIPTU Account
A report prepared by SIPTU which raises questions about accountability lapses in the Department of Health and the HSE will be considered by the PAC tomorrow, 15th December.

State bodies paid in more than €4million to an account which, while under the control of two union officials, was not an authorised union account. The account has since been closed and the balance in the account has been returned to the Exchequer.

The Committee of Public Accounts in the last Dáil was told that the SIPTU fund was used to bring civil servants abroad on trips, some of which coincided with St Patrick’s Day. The USA was the destination for 18 of these trips.

Chairman of the Committee John McGuinness stated that the latest documentation from the HSE, whose internal audit unit has done a lot of work to try to fill accountability gaps, shows that a sum of €1.154 million does not have documentation to back up the payment.

Deputy McGuinness said: “This episode shows what can happen when proper controls are not stipulated when money is handed over to a third party. There was a major failure of governance and accountability in the use of these funds.

The SIPTU report points the finger clearly at the Department of Health, which set up these procedures, and the HSE and concludes that the HSE should have provided greater clarity on fund usage when it agreed that money would be given to a union for onward dispersal.

At the end of the day, taxpayers’ money was not used appropriately and the PAC will be asking why money that is not properly vouched should not be returned to the exchequer. Those hard questions will have to be asked tomorrow.”

Cathal Magee, CEO of the HSE, Michael Scanlan, the Secretary General of the Department of Health, and Geraldine Tallon, Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, will appear before the PAC tomorrow, Thursday, 15th December in Committee Room 1, Leinster House at 10 am.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/ViewDoc.asp?fn=/documents/livewebcast/Web-Live.htm&CatID=83&m=o
Ends
http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-3070-en.html

C. Flower
14-12-2011, 06:43 PM
Surprise surprise. SIPTU "enquiry" says it's all someone else's fault.

What happened to the Garda investigation into SIPTU ?

Baron von Biffo
14-12-2011, 08:16 PM
PAC to continue its examination of the operation of the unofficial SIPTU Account
A report prepared by SIPTU which raises questions about accountability lapses in the Department of Health and the HSE will be considered by the PAC tomorrow, 15th December.

State bodies paid in more than €4million to an account which, while under the control of two union officials, was not an authorised union account. The account has since been closed and the balance in the account has been returned to the Exchequer.

The Committee of Public Accounts in the last Dáil was told that the SIPTU fund was used to bring civil servants abroad on trips, some of which coincided with St Patrick’s Day. The USA was the destination for 18 of these trips.

Chairman of the Committee John McGuinness stated that the latest documentation from the HSE, whose internal audit unit has done a lot of work to try to fill accountability gaps, shows that a sum of €1.154 million does not have documentation to back up the payment.

Deputy McGuinness said: “This episode shows what can happen when proper controls are not stipulated when money is handed over to a third party. There was a major failure of governance and accountability in the use of these funds.

The SIPTU report points the finger clearly at the Department of Health, which set up these procedures, and the HSE and concludes that the HSE should have provided greater clarity on fund usage when it agreed that money would be given to a union for onward dispersal.

At the end of the day, taxpayers’ money was not used appropriately and the PAC will be asking why money that is not properly vouched should not be returned to the exchequer. Those hard questions will have to be asked tomorrow.”

Cathal Magee, CEO of the HSE, Michael Scanlan, the Secretary General of the Department of Health, and Geraldine Tallon, Secretary General of the Department of the Environment, will appear before the PAC tomorrow, Thursday, 15th December in Committee Room 1, Leinster House at 10 am.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/ViewDoc.asp...m&CatID=83&m=o
Ends http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-3070-en.html

This should give those who voted against the Kangaroo Courts referendum cause to pat themselves on the back.

It's clear that even though the investigation is ongoing, the chair of the investigation committee has already determined what the findings will be.

C. Flower
14-12-2011, 10:30 PM
This should give those who voted against the Kangaroo Courts referendum cause to pat themselves on the back.

It's clear that even though the investigation is ongoing, the chair of the investigation committee has already determined what the findings will be.

Exactly, leave it to the Gardaí to investigate.

Baron von Biffo
14-12-2011, 11:54 PM
Exactly, leave it to the Gardaí to investigate.

They are the appropriate authority if there's a possibility of criminality. If there is a garda investigation the PAC should walk away until it's concluded. We have unfortunate precedent for a politician shooting her mouth off and by so doing, allowing a colleague to dodge justice.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
15-12-2011, 09:26 AM
And she should have faced charges for obstruction of justice. But of course she didn't because the establishment don't get charged in Ireland. And she knew damn well what she was doing.

C. Flower
15-12-2011, 01:01 PM
PAC discussing this at the moment. Live Stream Committee Room One

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?p=211383#post211383

C. Flower
15-12-2011, 01:01 PM
A Mr. Smith, retired from the Health Service, according to the PAC, is the man in the know about the foreign travel, but is not co-operating.

Has he been arrested, I wonder?

Baron von Biffo
15-12-2011, 01:03 PM
A Mr. Smith, retired from the Health Service, according to the PAC, is the man in the know about the foreign travel, but is not co-operating.

Has he been arrested, I wonder?

We've just voted to deny the politicians the power to arrest us.

C. Flower
15-12-2011, 08:07 PM
We've just voted to deny the politicians the power to arrest us.

Please refer to the thread title: there is a Garda investigation going on.

Baron von Biffo
15-12-2011, 08:59 PM
Please refer to the thread title: there is a Garda investigation going on.

Your post, to which I was replying, said he wasn't co-operating with the PAC and asked if he'd been arrested.

C. Flower
15-12-2011, 09:38 PM
Your post, to which I was replying, said he wasn't co-operating with the PAC and asked if he'd been arrested.

Well, unless Shane tries a citizen's arrest, it would have to be the Gardaí, who are supposedly investigating this.

Baron von Biffo
15-12-2011, 09:49 PM
Well, unless Shane tries a citizen's arrest, it would have to be the Gardaí, who are supposedly investigating this.

Just so we avoid wasting each other's time on misunderstandings, are you wondering if this person was arrested for not appearing before the PAC?

PaddyJoe
17-12-2011, 12:17 AM
I didn't realize that the PAC(or any other Dail committee) could compel witness to appear:

THE country's largest trade union has been accused of deliberately withholding information from the HSE about a taxpayer-funded multimillion-euro "slush fund" that was partly used to pay for trips abroad.
HSE officials told the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday they had sought information from SIPTU on the operation of the €5m fund, but were not being given details to which the union had access.
Committee chairman John McGuinness (http://searchtopics.independent.ie/topic/John_McGuinness) warned that he could use the Compellability Act to bring in officials to answer questions on the SIPTU National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund.
http://www.independent.ie/national-news/hse-officials-say-union-hid-information-from-euro5m-slush-fund-probe-2965983.html
And the reason I didn't realize this is because Ernst & Young refused to appear before the PAC to discuss their auditing of Anglo and I mistakenly assumed that there was no power of compellability.

3.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a committee may with (if, immediately before the giving of the direction concerned, the appropriate subcommittee stands appointed) the consent of the appropriate subcommittee—

(a) direct in writing any person whose evidence is required by the committee to attend before the committee on a date and at a time and place specified in the direction and there to give evidence and to produce any document in his or her possession or power specified in the direction

(8) A person who—

(a) having been directed under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) to attend before a committee and having had tendered to him or her any sum in respect of the expenses of his or her attendance before the committee which a witness summoned to attend before the High Court would be entitled to have tendered to him or her, without just cause or excuse, disobeys the direction,

(b) being in attendance before a committee pursuant to a direction under the said paragraph (a), refuses to take the oath on being required by the committee to do so or refuses to answer any question to which the committee may legally require an answer,

(c) without just cause or excuse, disobeys a direction under paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) of subsection (1),

(d) in relation to the discovery of documents pursuant to paragraph (d) of subsection (1), contravenes a rule of court referred to in that paragraph, or

(e) does any other thing in relation to the proceedings before a committee which, if done in relation to proceedings before a court by a witness in the court or any other person, would be contempt of that court,

shall be guilty of an offence
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1997/en/act/pub/0017/sec0003.html#sec3

So how come Ernst & Young didn't have the Compellability Act waved at them?

Baron von Biffo
17-12-2011, 12:37 AM
I didn't realize that the PAC(or any other Dail committee) could compel witness to appear:


THE country's largest trade union has been accused of deliberately withholding information from the HSE about a taxpayer-funded multimillion-euro "slush fund" that was partly used to pay for trips abroad.
HSE officials told the Dail Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday they had sought information from SIPTU on the operation of the €5m fund, but were not being given details to which the union had access.
Committee chairman John McGuinness warned that he could use the Compellability Act to bring in officials to answer questions on the SIPTU National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund.

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/hse-officials-say-union-hid-information-from-euro5m-slush-fund-probe-2965983.html

Jack O'Connor was on DriveTime during the week and he managed (with some considerable difficulty) to explain twice that SIPTU is very keen to co-operate with the inquiry but that it hasn't been invited to attend by the PAC.

Bellicose outbursts from McGuinness have more to do with political opportunism than SIPTU reticence.


And the reason I didn't realize this is because Ernst & Young refused to appear before the PAC to discuss their auditing of Anglo and I mistakenly assumed that there was no power of compellability.


3.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a committee may with (if, immediately before the giving of the direction concerned, the appropriate subcommittee stands appointed) the consent of the appropriate subcommittee—

(a) direct in writing any person whose evidence is required by the committee to attend before the committee on a date and at a time and place specified in the direction and there to give evidence and to produce any document in his or her possession or power specified in the direction



(8) A person who—

(a) having been directed under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) to attend before a committee and having had tendered to him or her any sum in respect of the expenses of his or her attendance before the committee which a witness summoned to attend before the High Court would be entitled to have tendered to him or her, without just cause or excuse, disobeys the direction,

(b) being in attendance before a committee pursuant to a direction under the said paragraph (a), refuses to take the oath on being required by the committee to do so or refuses to answer any question to which the committee may legally require an answer,

(c) without just cause or excuse, disobeys a direction under paragraph (b), (c), (d) or (e) of subsection (1),

(d) in relation to the discovery of documents pursuant to paragraph (d) of subsection (1), contravenes a rule of court referred to in that paragraph, or

(e) does any other thing in relation to the proceedings before a committee which, if done in relation to proceedings before a court by a witness in the court or any other person, would be contempt of that court,

shall be guilty of an offence
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1997/en/act/pub/0017/sec0003.html#sec3

So how come Ernst & Young didn't have the Compellability Act waved at them?

Compulsion to attend is one thing but whether the committee can compel those before it to answer questions is another.

From the comments of some PAC members it seems clear to me that they have already reached a conclusion and the hearings are just an opportunity for grandstanding.

In that context it wouldn't be surprising if a person attending under compulsion answered every question with - On the advice of my lawyers I decline to answer that question.

Baron von Biffo
17-12-2011, 12:48 AM
It's worth pointing out that SIPTU deny the charge (repeated in the thread title) that the monies in question were paid to it or to any account controlled by the union.

PaddyJoe
17-12-2011, 12:53 AM
Jack O'Connor was on DriveTime during the week and he managed (with some considerable difficulty) to explain twice that SIPTU is very keen to co-operate with the inquiry but that it hasn't been invited to attend by the PAC.

Bellicose outbursts from McGuinness have more to do with political opportunism than SIPTU reticence.



Compulsion to attend is one thing but whether the committee can compel those before it to answer questions is another.

From the comments of some PAC members it seems clear to me that they have already reached a conclusion and the hearings are just an opportunity for grandstanding.

In that context it wouldn't be surprising if a person attending under compulsion answered every question with - On the advice of my lawyers I decline to answer that question.
I don't have any legal expertise but it looks like this section deals with that:

(b) being in attendance before a committee pursuant to a direction under the said paragraph (a), refuses to take the oath on being required by the committee to do so or refuses to answer any question to which the committee may legally require an answer,
.......
shall be guilty of an offence.
Looks like there is a provision for that eventuality. If McGuinness has decided to get tough it must be time to call Ernst & Young back.
As I recall the PAC is going to go ahead with an investigation into the banking collapse in the new year anyway.

Baron von Biffo
17-12-2011, 01:17 AM
I don't have any legal expertise but it looks like this section deals with that:


(b) being in attendance before a committee pursuant to a direction under the said paragraph (a), refuses to take the oath on being required by the committee to do so or refuses to answer any question to which the committee may legally require an answer,
.......
shall be guilty of an offence.

Looks like there is a provision for that eventuality. If McGuinness has decided to get tough it must be time to call Ernst & Young back.
As I recall the PAC is going to go ahead with an investigation into the banking collapse in the new year anyway.

Neither have I legal expertise but I'm aware that there's a principle with only a few exceptions, that one doesn't have to answer a question if the answer would mean self incrimination.

Given the quasi-judicial nature of the proceedings and the right of persons before the committee to defend their good name, there's a strong chance that anyone compelled to attend would demand legal representation - A right that the politicians tried to con us into abandoning.

Since the purpose of the hearing seems to be to enhance political reputations rather than to genuinely unearth the facts, the presence of lawyers to defend witnesses wouldn't be very attractive to the committee.

PaddyJoe
03-02-2012, 10:58 PM
Update:

SIPTU has referred issues around a controversial Health Service Executive-funded account to the Garda Fraud Squad, according to correspondence published on the website of the Public Accounts Committee.
For over two years, HSE internal auditors have been investigating how around €5 million from the SKILL training fund for lower grades of health staff was used to pay for lavish foreign travel and other expenditure for government, HSE and trade union officials.
http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0203/siptu.html

Dr. FIVE
29-04-2013, 04:12 PM
C&AG with impeccable timing

http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/siptu-use-of-state-fund-for-foreign-trips-deemed-inappropriate-592864.html


SIPTU said that it accepts the findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General's report that travel arrangements paid for by the fund were "inappropriate" as they "bypassed internal controls over the charging of - and accountability for foreign travel by public employees".

The inspection found that "there was no effective oversight or formal accountability for the fund’s operations" and that errors could have been prevented had appropriate financial controls been put in place.


The inspection also uncovered other "inappropriate financial procedures". These included no documentary evidence to demonstrate that goods and services which were paid out of public funds were procured in a competitive and fair manner, and payments to some suppliers being made in advance of service delivery.

SIPTU has asked to appear before the Public Accounts Committee to further clarify its position.

PaddyJoe
29-04-2013, 07:19 PM
Wonder how the Fraud Squad are getting on with the investigation? Only being running for a year now.

PaddyJoe
19-06-2013, 06:01 PM
Up for discussion at the PAC again tomorrow(Thursday).

Public Accounts (http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/public-accounts/) CR1, LH 2000 10 a.m. (T) AGENDA: (i) Business of the Committee; and
(ii) 2009 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (http://www.audgen.gov.ie/documents/annualreports/2009/ReportVol2_09_rev2.pdf): Chapter 37: SKILL Programme (resumed);
2010 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (http://www.audgen.gov.ie/documents/annualreports/2010/2010_Volume_2_En%281.05%29.pdf): Chapter 41: Partnership Arrangements in the Health Service (resumed);
Special Report No. 80 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: Administration of National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund (http://www.audgen.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/vfmreports/80_Health_Local_Auth_Levy_Fund.pdf)
[Mr Joe O'Flynn, General Secretary, SIPTUat 10.30am];
[Secretary General, Department of Health; Mr Tony O'Brien, Director General Designate, Health Service Executiveat 12.00 noon]
http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=23773&&CatID=60

PaddyJoe
20-06-2013, 01:08 PM
Joe Flynn of SIPTU is being questioned at the moment.

PaddyJoe
20-06-2013, 06:51 PM
HSE, C&AG, and SiPTU all cross examined today for the best part of six hours and we're none the wiser.
As Kieran O'Donnell said it's Hamlet without the prince. Newbies like Simon Harris and Derek Nolan were positively gibbering at the incomprehensibility of it all.
To be discussed again in private session next Thursday before they examine another one of those famous 'systems failure' in the guise of the Dublin Docklands Authority report.

Kev Bar
20-06-2013, 07:09 PM
HSE, C&AG, and SiPTU all cross examined today for the best part of six hours and we're none the wiser.
As Kieran O'Donnell said it's Hamlet without the prince. Newbies like Simon Harris and Derek Nolan were positively gibbering at the incomprehensibility of it all.
To be discussed again in private session next Thursday before they examine another one of those famous 'systems failure' in the guise of the Dublin Docklands Authority report.

That's what we live in a 'systems failure'

DCon
23-06-2013, 10:33 PM
Lots on this in the SINDO


On arrival in Georgia, Merrigan would make a cheque out to cash in order to get a sufficient amount of dollars to fund expenses for those who travelled. He also had free rein on a credit card, which, in addition to paying for all the flights, was used for hotel bills and entertainment. The bills for such largesse ultimately ran to almost €1.1m and, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), were totally "outside the scope of the fund's original objective".

It was a familiar routine for the man who himself travelled more than 40 times, who ultimately organised a total of 74 foreign trips and who ultimately oversaw a €4.4m "slush fund," as described by Fine Gael TD Simon Harris at the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Merrigan lived the high life across the world at the taxpayers' expense.


But more alarmingly, the Sunday Independent can reveal that on 10 trips five serving Department of Health officials and a retired official, Frank Ahern, went on the 'study trips'.

So the taxpayer was paying for a retired official – who had previously been responsible for the allocation of money to this fund from the health budget – to attend 'study trips' aimed at allowing people do their job better.

Worse still, another department official, Bernard Carey, the senior official who sanctioned the handing over of the cash to Merrigan's fund, travelled on five of the six US trips around St Patrick's Day.


However, members of the PAC, particularly Simon Harris and Labour TD Derek Nolan found it "incomprehensible" that no sanctions had been brought against any individual.

"I am getting fed up of things being blamed on systems," said Harris. "There were people involved here and we need to hear from them as to how this happened."


"I am lost for words," Derek Nolan said at the PAC hearing on Thursday. "This was the perfect crime. It is like events were created to justify this."


The documents again show that 27 cheques, totalling €42,000, were made out to cash, many of which were impossible to trace, in what PAC members have suggested was a means to avoid paying tax.


Those who went on trips included: Siptu officials Matt Merrigan and Jack Kelly; Aiden Brown (HSE); Michael McDonald (HSE); Barry O'Brien (HSE); Alan Smith (general manager of Skill training scheme); Larry Walsh (Health Services National Partnership Forum); Se O'Connor (HSE); Caroline O'Regan and Ann Judge (SKILL); Marian Larkin (HSE); Tom Dowling (Department of Finance); retired Department of Health official Frank Ahern; Bernard Carey (Department of Health); Conal Devine (described as an IR practitioner); Frank Kelly (Local Authority); G O'Brien (NI Disability Forum); Peter Bunting (ICTU); P Harvey (North West Health Board); and three unidentified individuals Brian Bird, John O'Dowd and Paul Donnelly.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/spending-watchdog-will-get-to-bottom-of-siptu-junketeering-29365589.html

PaddyJoe
10-09-2014, 10:47 PM
Now this is interesting. If compellability can be applied to SIPTU officials why not to Flannery and Kerins?


TWO ex-union officials and a former HSE manager involved in a multi-million euro "slush fund" which used public money to pay for foreign trips will be compelled to give evidence at a Dail committee in November.

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It will be the first time new compellability powers have been invoked and the three men can be held in contempt of court and potentially taken into custody if they refuse to attend.
Matt Merrigan, a former SIPTU health division organiser, Jack Kelly, a former member of the union's national executive, and ex-HSE employee Alan Smith have all previously refused to comply with requests to give evidence before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The committee has been investigating the SIPTU National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund for four years, but has been unable to conclude its probe due to the non-cooperation of the three men.
This prompted the PAC to seek compellability powers, which it secured in July.
The committee is expected to finalise plans for the "slush fund" hearing next week, but the Irish Independent understands that a date in November has already been earmarked.
Both Mr Merrigan and Mr Kelly controlled the account into which the funds were paid, while Mr Smith was manager of the Skills programme, which aimed to provide training for lower-paid staff such as porters, home helps and cleaning personnel
- See more at: http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/slush-fund-officials-will-be-forced-to-give-evidence-before-pac-30575195.html#sthash.EUEYmgSM.53r4dfWr.dpuf

DCon
12-10-2014, 08:44 AM
This is still dragging on



A TOP Health Service Executive official who went on trips paid for out of a controversial €4.4m SIPTU 'slush fund' is facing calls from the Dail's spending watchdog to explain his actions.

Barry O'Brien, who is the HSE's National Director of Human Resources and is a regular attendee before Oireachtas committees, was one of 19 officials and a number of spouses who junketeered overseas between 2002 and 2010, paid for by the controversial fund.

Between 2002 and 2010, a total of 74 trips were organised to destinations including New York, California, Australia, Orlando, Boston, Savannah in Georgia, Milan, London, Hong Kong, Brussels, Texas, five trips to Lanzarote, Frankfurt and Zurich. Mr O'Brien was part of a delegation that travelled to Savannah Georgia on a seven-day jaunt, from March 13 to 20.

This was one of six trips over the St Patrick's Day holiday that Merrigan and his invited guests went on to the United States between 2004 and 2009.

On 10 trips, five serving Department of Health officials and a retired official, Frank Ahern, went on the 'study trips'.

No official in the HSE or the Department of Health has faced any disciplinary action for their involvement in the junketeering.

HSE chief executive Tony O'Brien said he found "no evidence" to merit sanctioning any of his staff.


http://m.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/hse-official-to-face-pac-over-slush-fund-trips-30656940.html