73. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the November 2017 report of the Policing Authority on matters arising at the Garda training college in Templemore and in particular in relation to the 19 recommendations arising from the interim audit report. [5558/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): On receipt of the Garda Síochána Internal Audit Report on "Financial Procedures in the Garda College" in March 2017 and in view of the gravity of the issues raised, my predecessor immediately requested the Policing Authority to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the Report and to report back on a quarterly basis in relation to progress being made.
I have received three reports from the Authority to date. The report to which the Deputy refers is the second report which was laid before the Houses as required by the Garda Síochána Act 2005. The Authority's assessment in this report reflects considerable progress by An Garda Síochána in implementing the recommendations. The report records that 11 of the 19 recommendations as completed or closed.
The Authority submitted its third quarterly progress report to me last week. I intend to make arrangements to have it laid before the Houses as soon as practicable. The report is positive and reports progress in relation to each of the 19 recommendations. While the Authority's assessment remains that 11 of recommendations are complete or closed it is satisfied that progress is being made in respect of the outstanding 8 recommendations. These outstanding recommendations broadly relate to the transfer of lands from Sportsfield Co Ltd to the Office of Public Works (OPW), the winding up of the Sportsfield Co, the regularising of the status of the employees attached to the College restaurant and the closing of certain bank accounts.
In particular, considerable progress is noted in relation to the regularising the status of the employees of the College restaurant. The Authority has approved the appointment by the Garda Commissioner of the staff of the restaurant as his employees. I understand that arrangements to put this in place are in train.
The report also records that considerable progress has been made in relation to the closure of the College bank accounts with only four remaining open. It is expected that this number will be reduced further when the staff of the restaurant are transferred to the College payroll and the procurement process for the supply of goods to the restaurant is completed.
The Authority acknowledges that the recommendations relating to the transfer of land to the OPW may take some time to resolve due to the complexity of the issues involved but reports that it is satisfied that progress on the implementation of these recommendations continues to be made.
The Authority is to report again in July 2018 when it is expected that further progress on the remaining recommendations will be made.