Waterford Council bought 63 vans for no reason

There have been calls for the publication of an internal Waterford City and County Council probe into how €1.5m was spent on 63 new vans for no specific reason, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said more transparency is needed after the council refused to explain how it has addressed the issue, declined to provide any details on how the mistake happened, and if the taxpayer has been left with an unnecessary cost.

In a letter to the Public Accounts Committee , TDs were told that at the start of this year the council bought 63 Volkswagen vans for €1.5m. It said management told officials in May the vans were not needed and would be sent back within three weeks. However, the councilchose to keep the vehicles, with the vans left unused on the authority’s premises.

The council subsequently launched an internal probe into thepurchase, whether any money was retrievable, why it was signed off on, whether any disciplinary action was required, and what should happen next.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, a council spokesperson said: “There has been a procurement issue with regard to the purchase of fleet vehicles and an internal investigation has been undertaken and is almost at completion and in the process of being resolved.”

Late last week, the spokesperson added the situation was “resolved” and that the vans would be in use from early October. However, the spokesperson refused to explain how the issue was resolved, what was the outcome of the internal investigation, if the council has lost out on money, and how the vans will now be used.

Mr Cullinane said:

“I am conscious that there is an internal examination underway. I await the publication of this report. It is also an issue that will be subject to examination by the council’s auditors. I will contact the council management seeking clarity on the procurement process followed.”

This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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