Garda training college bar under Revenue probe despite €38,000 settlement

PAC member and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy

The bar at the  in Templemore is still under Revenue investigation despite a €38,000 tax settlement, it has been confirmed.

Garda documents obtained by the Irish Examiner reveal that incorrect accounting on Vat relating to bar sales since 2010 resulted in a liability of €22,000 plus fines, penalties and interest totalling €4,000.

In addition, incorrect treatment of payroll taxes on casual wages for the period 2014 – 2016 in the bar resulted in a liability of around €10,000 plus interest and penalties of €1,500, the documents state.

In new documents, An Garda Síochána reveal that the matter is still open as it is “awaiting the determination of the Revenue Commissioners”.

Due to the financial crash, the bar was closed in 2009 when Templemore was shut but it re-opened in 2014 for a “small number of events”.

According to the documents, “in December 2016, the bar was closed following a draft interim audit report and has remained closed since that time.” As part of that audit, specialist financial experts were called in to assist in compiling the report of the various entities associated with the Garda college.

“Advisers concluded that the tax affairs of the various entities were in order except for an under payment of tax in relation to the bar,” the documents state. “An amount of €38,000 was paid to the Revenue.”

The matters at the Garda college are being investigated by the Dáil’s spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

PAC member and Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy wants long-standing issues relating to the bar closed off and said the committee’s engagement with the gardaí is less than satisfactory.

“While some progress has been made on this important issue, there has been less than clarity from when the gardaí were before us. This is not over,” she told the Irish Examiner.

“The Revenue issue is quite important and serious and we must get to the bottom of this, not simply to give them a grilling, but to follow through and ensure these matters are finalised.”

The PAC also pointed to bank accounts being opened without consent, and EU funds for training not being used for their rightful purpose.

A PAC report also noted the Office of Public Works acquired a large farm 6km from Templemore for the Garda College in 2006 for €4.3 million. It was to be used for tactical training and to facilitate expanded Garda recruitment as the college became crowded.

Despite there being a Garda golf club located across the road from the college, the report noted that no consideration had been given to developing that site for an expansion of the college to accommodate the larger numbers of recruits.

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