herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

HSE probe into claim ex-staff got contracts

John McGuinness
John McGuinness

THE HSE is to be questioned over allegations that it handed out contracts to former employees without undergoing proper tendering processes.

Claims have been made in a comprehensive dossier sent to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), a summary of which has been received by members.

The dossier, seen and reported on by the Herald two weeks ago, includes claims that centre on cases where contracts were awarded to companies led by former HSE staff or where former HSE workers are now on the payroll.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said some former HSE staff members have made "huge money" from unadvertised contracts.

Waterford TD John Deasy said he is particularly concerned about the allegations on nursing homes, especially given the recent scandals of abusive behaviour in some facilities.

They include cases where the HSE has paid former staff members for spaces in care homes without first investigating whether better deals could be found elsewhere.

Separately, the PAC was suspended yesterday following a row between committee member John Perry and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The argument came at the end of a session with representatives of small businesses who were deeply critical of the Government's procurement policy.

Mr Perry, a former minister for small firms, sought to defend the National Procurement Office and tackled Comptroller Seamus McCarthy over his "failure to carry out a value-for-money audit of the NPO".

dreadful

Mr Perry said some "dreadful allegations" had been made at the meeting and put Mr Mc- Carthy under pressure.

Mr McCarthy hit back, saying he does not do a value-for-money audit of all state agencies every year, but that each organisation is required to achieve and demonstrate value for money in its purchasing.

It took Mr McGuinness to intervene and suspend the meeting, having overruled Mr Perry.

noconnor@herald.ie

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