It is not teneable for Noonan to dismiss PAC invite – Kelly

20 September 2016

Labour TD for Tipperary and Vice-Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Alan Kelly has today stated that Minister Michael Noonan must come before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions on Project Eagle/NAMA.

“The idea that the Minister for Finance would just send his Secretary General in his place to the Public Accounts Committee on such an important issue such as Project Eagle is disappointing.

“Normally, when the PAC is considering the annual accounts of Government Departments and public bodies, it is right and appropriate that the principal witness should be the secretary general or CEO who signed off on those accounts.

“But this is not a normal PAC hearing into Departmental spending. It is a special report under section 9 of the 1993 Act, which empowers the Comptroller to examine whether public funds have been used economically and efficiently, and whether disposals of public property have been effected ‘upon the most favourable terms reasonably obtainable’.

“The PAC is entitled to hear from any witness who has material evidence relevant to those issues and Minister Noonan is certainly relevant to these hearings. He must tell the PAC about his role, his briefings and all his correspondence on this issue.

“It is not as if there is not precedent for relevant Ministers to appear before PAC on important issues. Of course there was the DIRT inquiry, but also Brendan Howlin previously volunteered to appear in front of the PAC over public pay issues.

“Actually, I believe it would not be tenable for him in his role as Minister of Finance to refuse this modest request from the PAC.

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