Government delaying public spending oversight - Sinn Féin

Government delaying public spending oversight - Sinn Féin

Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Brian Stanley of Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin has accused the government of delaying oversight into public spending.

Brian Stanley, the new Chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), has expressed disappointment at the three Government parties for delaying the first meeting of the PAC.

The Committee has not met since January and was supposed to meet on August 6 to set out its work programme for the next term but the meeting will now not go ahead after the Government "ignored several deadlines" for submitting their membership list.

The statement comes just weeks after a Dáil Business committee meeting descended into "chaos" after the government was accused of stymying democracy for similar reasons.

Sinn Féin says the establishment of "essential" Oireachtas Committees is being prevented by the government, which continues to defer major decisions relating to how the committees are set up. The committee has been deemed a matter of priority because of responsibilities around public finances during the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

Mr Stanley described the move as "another sign of the chaos" within the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party government.

"The Public Accounts Committee has a very important role to play in the 33rd Dáil and a number of parties have delayed it from getting on with its job," he said.

 

"There was a deadline set for all parties to have their membership list submitted by Wednesday July 29 at noon and the Government failed to meet the deadline. This was raised at the Dáil Reform committee and an extension was agreed for close of business Wednesday evening. Again, this deadline was missed by the Government coalition.

"The Government then chose to submit its nominations very late Thursday night giving no time for a motion to come before the Dáil. Now this can't be done until the Dáil resumes in September."

He said it is unacceptable that "some parties can obstruct the work of the PAC due to the fact that they can't get their act together".

"This follows a delay in the appointment of Chairpersons to Oireachtas Committees and a delay in the establishment of the Houses of Oireachtas Commission. I am appealing to all parties to stop frustrating the process and to cooperate to ensure the Committee can do its job."

Mr Stanley said that as chair of the PAC, at its next meeting he will also be bringing forward recommendations by the Dáil Reform Committee to have the remit of PAC expanded to empower the committee to follow taxpayers’ money "wherever it is spent and whenever the need arises".

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