University College Cork has told the Dail’s spending watchdog that it is “fully financially sustainable” despite failing to file its 2018 financial accounts on time, it can be revealed.
A number of the country’s leading universities, including UCC and Dublin City University, have had to defend the late filing of their annual accounts in correspondence sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The committee will this morning discuss the colleges’ failure to produce their 2018 financial accounts by the end of April, the conclusion of the financial year.
In UCC’s case, president Patrick O’Shea told the PAC the college remains on a sound financial footing, insisting its records will be ready and completed in time for a scheduled audit next week.
“While the submission is indeed later than originally envisaged, the financial statements will at that stage have been fully audited by our commercial auditors,” he added.
In its letter, DCU’s president Brian MacCraith told PAC chairman Sean Fleming that its late delivery of its 2018 financial statements was “primarily due to a major, once-off issue”.
He said the merging of St Patrick’s teacher-training college in Drumcondra, Mater Dei Institute and the Church of Ireland College of Education into the main college in 2016/17 “continued to present very significant accounting challenges” ever since.
“The accounting for the Incorporation Project has had a once-off, but highly significant, impact on the 2017/18 year-end financial reporting and external audit cycle, which will not arise in subsequent reporting cycles for DCU,” the president wrote.
Mr MacCraith has told the PAC that when the C&AG initially proposed the shortened reporting timelines, the college brought to his attention some of the issues DCU would face in meeting the new timelines.
DCU insisted it also has 10 trading companies within the DCU commercial group, which complicate the finalising of financial statements.
The PAC will also be examining the 2017 accounts from the Department of Agriculture which had a budget of €1.4bn for the period.