Staff of Our Lady's Hospice may be called before PAC over the use of public funds

Staff at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold’s Cross in Dublin may be called into the Public Accounts Committee.

It is after the charity used public funds for staff gifts and pre-signed cheques – and questioned why they were being audited.

Committee members say the audit reports they received were heavily redacted – and shed little light on questionable practices.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane said the response of the organisation was phenomenal.

He said: "The previous CEO, the person who was the accounting officer at the time or the CEO said that he knew nothing about the audit being carried out.

"I think the arrogance of the organisation and how it responded to the issues is very alarming, given that they get very substantial funding from the taxpayer.

"I would ask that this issue is dealt with as part of our work programme."

A statement issued by Our Lady's Hospice and Care Services said: "We fully co-operated with the Health Service Executive (HSE) during the audits it conducted into our services covering the period 2006 to 2015.

"We took decisive action, implemented a range of new procedures and policies to enable best practice financial management, fulfilled our reporting obligations and a member of staff was dismissed.

"100% of the recommendations in the Audits have now been implemented.

"The Audits demonstrated that the financial controls that were in place in Our Lady’s Hospice & Care Services at that time were not as comprehensive as they could have been and for that the Board and Management are very sorry. Our current management and Board of Directors have fully taken this on-board and acted immediately to enhance our financial procedures to ensure best practice.

"Should we receive an invitation to go before the Public Accounts Committee, we will be happy to co-operate with it fully."

- Digital Desk

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