It is shocking and worrying that €5 billion of taxpayers’ money, which goes through the local government spend throughout this country, is not audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Fianna Fáil Deputy John McGuinness told the Dáil.
Speaking on a motion to appoint a new Comptroller and Auditor General, he said the recent discovery in respect of payments at Tallaght Hospital was also shocking.
“Some €2.6 billion of taxpayers’ money goes to the voluntary sector,” he said. “While we can inspect and audit the books of St James’s Hospital and bring the relevant people in this regard before the Committee of Public Accounts, we cannot do so in regard to Tallaght Hospital.
“In my opinion, the reforms that are necessary in this area are achievable. Were the minister and Government to put their minds to it, I have no doubt the Local Government Audit Service and Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General could be amalgamated, resulting in our having one body responsible for the complete audit of every cent of taxpayers’ money spent in this country.”
Deputy McGuinness said he believed that any country interested in reform would start with the Committee of Public Accounts and the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, which has been since the 1800s responsible for scrutiny of Government spending.
“We need the review brought to a conclusion and to bring into sharp focus the need for reform of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Committee of Public Accounts,” Deputy McGuinness said.