Civil servant who failed to reveal children's hospital budget crisis to snub PAC grilling

Civil servant who failed to reveal children's hospital budget crisis to snub PAC grilling

The State's chief procurement officer will snub demands to explain his role in the children's hospital costs crisis by refusing to attend a Dail meeting on Thursday.

The Department of Public Expenditure's head of procurement Paul Quinn will not attend a crunch meeting of the Dail's public accounts committee on the scandal despite a formal request to do so.

Mr Quinn was a "public interest" representative on the children's hospital board while the budget crisis was mounting.

However, despite the deepening scandal, the Government has said he failed to tell ministers of what was happening - a claim the PAC is insistent it wants to question him on.

Department sources confirmed to the Irish Examiner on Wednesday night that while the PAC has demanded Mr Quinn attends due to his crucial role in the scandal, Department secretary general Robert Watt has the final say on which officials he will bring with him for the meeting.

As such, Mr Watt has decided to bring:

  • principal officer of the office of Government procurement David O Brien
  • principal officer of the Corporate Office, David Feeney
  • assistant principal officer of the Corporate Office, Helen Codd
  • and assistant principal officer of the Investment Projects and Programmes Office, Ciara Morgan

"He isn't going. It's always up to the secretary general which officials he brings. He's not bring him," a Department source said.

Asked how this can be allowed if the PAC specifically asked Mr Quinn to appear, the source added:

"They asked."

Mr Watt and Mr Quinn's decision for Mr Quinn to snub the PAC meeting is likely to infuriate committee members.

While they will be relieved Mr Watt will attend, PAC members have been insistent Mr Quinn also needed to appear for a number of weeks due to ongoing questions over who knew what and when in the children's hospital scandal.

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