New information has emerged about financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore, including the alleged existence of offshore bank accounts in the college’s name.
More than 400 pages of documentation have been sent to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by An Garda Síochána containing a number of new claims, including the use of a bank account in the name of the Garda laundry account for payment of bonuses, loans to staff and the funding of entertainment and sporting expenses.
A report by an internal audit unit, released in March this year, discovered the college had been renting out land it did not own, running 50 bank accounts and using public money to fit out privately owned shops.
The correspondence released to the PAC yesterday includes a letter from Michael Culhane, executive director of finance in An Garda Síochána, to the head of internal audit, Niall Kelly, a month before the audit was released.
Mr Culhane alleges Mr Kelly deliberately exaggerated the consequences of his findings and had set himself up as the “judge, jury and executioner”.
Dated February 20th last, Mr Culhane says the internal audit unit would be denying all principles of natural justice if Mr Kelly released his report in March without making suggested amendments.
Mr Culhane claims Mr Kelly stated on numerous occasions that the depth of the problems at Templemore would lead to people being taken away in handcuffs. He also alleges the head of internal audit compared the situation at the Garda college to the financial mismanagement at charity Console.
Mr Kelly is one of four civilian Garda officers to be invited to give evidence before the PAC without the presence of Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan.