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Read live updates on Comptroller and Auditor General's report

Joanne Hunt Mon, Sep 30
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  • This event has now ended
  • 08:59
    It's a dry, still morning the capital - but rain and drizzle is on the way from Munster and Connacht and will become widespread and persistent by evening. Highest temperatures 15 to 18 degrees today folks.
  • 09:01
    Good morning. It's Monday September 30th. Welcome to the Daily Wire, Joanne Hunt here with you until 5pm.
  • 09:05
  • 09:13

    Want to see a picture of a man who won't have to buy a pint for the rest of his life?

  • 09:14
  • 09:16
    Although he goes to college at UCC, so perhaps not.
  • 09:20

    Clare's Shane O'Donnell's 3-3 score tally in the All-Ireland replay against Cork on Saturday came from just nine touches of the ball. And he wasn't even supposed to play that day.

  • 09:23

    "As soon as you see Shane O’Donnell taking off his helmet, you only hope Louis Walsh isn’t passing a television. Just gone 19, his boyband credentials are so watertight that it’s a wonder the Clare bench didn’t have a tall stool for him to rise from all summer.

    "He walks through every door fringe first, with cheekbones high and a smile to make teenage girls bite on their necklaces. We don’t know if he can sing yet but then when has that ever mattered?"

    Read Malachy Clerkin's ode to Clare's hat-trick hero.

  • 09:33

    In other news, looks like 44 per cent of us are in favour of abolishing the Seanad with our main motivation being to save money.  Some €20 million will be saved, the Government's 'Yes' vote posters claim.

  • 09:44

    Of those who say they will vote 'No' to the abolition of the Seanad, their reasons include:

    'I don't want to give the Government more power' - 54%
    'I don't  trust/like the current Government' - 20%

    Looks like the majority of those voting 'No' are giving two fingers to the Government. Probably best that Enda has kept his mug out of telly debates on the issue, lest he inflame them even more.

    Read Arthur Beesley's analysis of the poll.

  • 09:48

    Some 4% of those voting 'Yes' to the abolition of the Seanad are doing so because they'd don't know any of the senators.

  • 09:48
    How many can you name?

    Let's play 'Name that Senator'.
  • 10:00
    Two men being questioned by gardaí about an alleged serious sexual assault on two girls aged six and nine in Athlone have been released without charge. A file is to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Read more.
  • 10:01
    Mayor of Athlone Councillor Gabrielle McFadden described the incident as “sickening” and said thoughts of the entire community are with the children and their parents.

    "Two children should be able to play in the front garden of a house,” an emotional Ms McFadden added. “The town is quite devastated and quite upset."
  • 10:11
    “Enda Kenny – as bad as your Da.”

    Miriam Lord went canvassing with the Taoiseach to Liffey Valley shopping centre on Saturday. 

    "As the music pulsed, Enda threw his arms in the air, fingers clicking, and dad-danced to the podium. Shoppers looked on, speechless."

  • 10:16
    Clare footballer and All-Ireland hero Shane O'Donnell only sent his first tweet last Wednesday.

    Though he's only sent four more since then, the 19 year-old has clocked up 6,870 followers.
  • 10:16
  • 10:20

    And his Mammy's confirmed he's single. Get in line girls.

  • 10:28
    Need to take the car to the NCT/wait home for the washing machine repair man/go to the dentist? No you don't.
  • 10:31
    Hold on to your mitres.
  • 10:40
    "If you open the door, a whole herd of cats will rush towards you," says Rhona Lucas, the woman who has turned her house in Galway into a sanctuary for 150 cats.

    I'm not so fond of cats. This would be my worst nigthmare.

    Meet Rhona and her cats.
  • 10:41
    Feargal If I come across any Breaking Bad last episode spoilers on this blog .. I will be the one who knocks.
  • 10:56
    Check out this gallery of the Clare team's homecoming, put together by Aoife Carr.

    Loving the random jeans/tracksuit and sneakers look on the team,  none of the suited and booted tomfoolery we've seen on some other victors of late. Just lovely swarthy Clare lads.
  • 10:58
    No 'Breaking Bad' spoilers here Feargal. I'm way behind.
  • 10:59
  • 11:11
  • 11:14
  • 11:18
    I skit you not. Why emigrate when there are opportunities like this?

    Retail destination, Rathwood, on the Carlow/Wicklow border, has already sold 30,000 tickets for its Christmas experience. They went on sale on September 1st. Tickets cost €15 per child and €10 per adult.
  • 11:30
    This could be you.
    This could be you.
  • 11:32
    Let's play 'Name that Senator'!
    Let's play 'Name that Senator'!
  • 11:46
  • 11:49

    Article 2 of the Irish Constitution:

    "It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish Nation.

    That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage."

    If you've got time on  your hands.

  • 11:58
    Whatever about the non-border, that new passport map of Ireland doesn't look right without cloud and rain symbols on it. Why not go with this more accurate map?
    Whatever about the non-border, that new passport map of Ireland doesn't look right without cloud and rain symbols on it. Why not go with this more accurate map?
  • 12:12
    Surely you should do escalators outside the Pale as well Panti? Spread the Gospel. Otherwise it will be carnage for All-Ireland final weekends/the Horse Show/8th of December and other culchie influx days.
  • 12:19
    Crowds have gathered outside Athlone courthouse and Garda station, where a man in his 30s remains in custody, in connection with the serious sexual assault of two girls on Saturday. Photograph: Eric Luke
    Crowds have gathered outside Athlone courthouse and Garda station, where a man in his 30s remains in custody, in connection with the serious sexual assault of two girls on Saturday. Photograph: Eric Luke
  • 12:36
    The mother of a newborn baby taken by gardai who surrounded a house and placed the infant in HSE custody has lost a High Court action aimed at having the child returned to her. Paul Cullen has the story.
  • 12:39
  • 12:46
    Welcome to Twitter, Irish Times environment editor Frank McDonald.
  • 12:51
    Travel company TripAdvisor is to establish an engineering hub in Dublin, creating at least 50 jobs, Ciara O'Brien writes.
  • 13:11

    Interesting article in the Gay Community News   -  it  reprints a letter from the owner of a wedding stationery shop who says he does not stock any merchandise that 'promotes same-sex marriage' because to do so would be in 'obvious conflict' with one of his subsidiary companies which runs a program for parents and teachers 'to pass the Christian faith to  children'.

    Read more.

  • 13:29
    Nan Collins (77) waited eight hours in A&E before anyone even checked to see if she was concussed.
    Nan Collins (77) waited eight hours in A&E before anyone even checked to see if she was concussed.
  • 13:31
    Irish Times health editor John Collins writes of his mother's ordeal.
  • 13:47
    And in sport.
  • 13:48
  • 13:53
    Aren't photo-bombers just really irksome?
  • 13:58

    Comedian Pat Shortt has appealed for the public’s help in tracing actor Gerry McCann who went missing last Thursday.

    It was “ very much out of character” for Mr McCann (47) not to be in touch with his family and they were “very concerned at this stage”, Shortt said. Read more.

  • 14:12
    A 28-year-old student made no reply when he was charged with the murder of archaeologist Emmet Connolly, who died following a fatal stabbing in Cootehill in Cavan at the weekend. Read more.
  • 14:21
    “Little Iron Lady” baby vests and “Our Maggie” beer - the British Conservative Party pays tribute to the late Margaret Thatcher at its annual conference.
  • 14:31

    Reaction to the last episode of 'Breaking Bad'. Enter at your peril.

  • 14:38
    Okay, so I'll do pretty much anything Mark Ruffalo recommends - but you should have a look too.
  • 15:06
    'Leaving aside economic necessity, we have to face the fact that a lot of emigration is opportunistic,' writes Una Mullally in today's Irish Times.
  • 15:12
    "I don't believe that people who do not live here and do not pay taxes here should have the same level of representation as those who do..." Reader comments coming in thick and fast on Una's  column.
  • 15:31

    For all the self-employed folks out there, pulling together your invoices and petrol receipts from last year - did you know that when it comes to your tax return, you can pray to St Matthew on it? He's the patron saint of accountants.

  • 15:33

    The Comptroller and Auditor General's report is in - that's the report on the accounts of the public services for 2012. Our industry and employment correspondent Martin Wall is leafing through it right now.

  • 15:36

    "The State is facing a potential liability of over €1.1 billion arising from personal injury and property damage claims against it and certain State agencies, according to the report of the spending watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General,"  Martin Wall writes.

    "The report says that the State Claims Agency,  which manages such claims, had reported that at the end of 2012 the estimated potential liability in respect of all active claims was €1.13 billion.

    It says that €970 million of this is in respect of clinical personal injury claims while around €160 million is related to other forms of claims."

  • 15:38
    €970 million in clinical personal injury claims against the State? That is insane.
  • 15:42

    The Comptroller and Auditor General's report is hot off the press and Martin Wall is highlighting what you, the tax-payer, needs to know. 

    "Around €12.7 million in compensation has been paid to 817 depositors with Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) – formerly Anglo Irish Bank – since its liquidation," Martin says.

    "The Comptroller’s report says the compensation was paid to the depositors by the Central bank for its deposit protection accounts."

  • 15:46
    Wow. So the taxpayer funded €12.7 million in compensation to Anglo depositors.

    So when do we get reimbursed?
  • 15:50

    And the National Pension Reserve Fund has seen a bit of looting, Martin Wall tells us:

    "The value of the State’s investment in the banks from the National Pension Reserve Fund has fallen by over €12 billion, the Comptroller’s report says.

    It says that the State had injected €20.8 billion from the National Pension Reserve Fund  into re-capitalising the banks by the end of last year.

    “The market value of the investments in the banks was €8.6 billion at December 31 2012.”  

    Read it for  yourself in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report, published this afternoon.

  • 15:55
    Did I mention that St Matthew, the patron saint of tax collectors, finances and accountants was axed to death?
  • 15:57
  • 16:01
  • 16:08

    Small savings, but savings nonetheless, at the Criminal Courts of Justice, according to the Comptroller's 2012 report.

    Martin Wall reports:

    "The Courts Service has generated annual savings of €163,000 on the operation of the new Criminal Courts of Justice complex in Dublin following a benchmarking exercise in relation to services such as cleaning and security.

    "The  complex was developed as part of a public private partnership arrangement and the report says that the Court Service instructed the private partner to carry out the benchmarking exercise under the terms of the contract.

    "The report  says that  following the review, it negotiated an 8 per cent reduction in the cost of these services at the courts complex.

    "It also says that in January 2012, the Courts Service imposed a deduction of €204,000  on the monthly payments to the private sector partner – or around one per cent of the annual contract payment – because of the unavailability of the courts comnplex for a day in October 2011 due to a flooding incident."

  • 16:11

    But not enough savings to fund the proposed new Court of Appeal, methinks.

  • 16:20
    Government debt rose almost 14 per cent to €192.5 billion in 2012 according to the annual audit of the country’s national accounts published this afternoon. Read more.
  • 16:22
    Some more nuggets from the Comptroller and Auditor General's report for you to chew on:

    The State spent €3.3 million on a building for the new State Pathology offices before it abandoned the project and demolished the partially completed structure.
  • 16:26
    We're bad at managing crap too - the annual report which shows how public money is spent identifies deficiencies in waste management.

    This has led to the EU requiring the State to clean up a number of waste sites at a cost of €119 million.
  • 16:29
    We're losing money by failing to prosecute those with driving offences - one in five offenders evades penalties and does not end up in court, according to the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report.
  • 16:33

    I'm sorry, but this is going to give you indigestion.

    "A civil servant was paid nearly €300,000 in overpayments after receiving duplicate salaries from two separate State bodies due to administrative errors, the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General has found. [Martin Wall reports].

    "The report says that   despite being informed of the mistake by the official, the payments continued for several more years."

  • 16:37
    Deep breaths people. Deep breaths. 
  • 16:39

    Reporter Fiona Gartland is  sifting through the health-related spend in the Comptroller and Auditor General's Report:

    "The State is facing a potential bill of €970 million for clinical indemnity claims against hospitals and medical practitioners," Fiona says.

    "The figure has more than doubled since 2008 when the liability was €449 million."

  • 16:47
  • 17:05

    "In a range of areas, the checks and balances are not working well enough,"   says chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, John Mc Guinness.

    "That leads, for instance, to doctors getting paid capitation grants for people who had medical cards but who have moved abroad or whose circumstances have changed so that their entitlement is lost."

  • 17:07
    Mr Mc Guinness questioned the ability of the State to effectively run schemes.

    He said the State must ensure only those that are eligible receive State services and ensure the gap between what should be raised in tax and what is actually raised is narrowed.

    How to Run a Country 101.
  • 17:11
    “The results of random audits in both social welfare and Revenue should be a cause of concern as these are showing up weaknesses in terms of tax compliance and eligibility for schemes, Mr Mc Guinness said.

    "Both of these organisations will have to show how their systems and controls have improved so that overpayments are avoided and the proper level of tax is collected.”
  • 17:20

    So how are one in five drivers in Ireland evading fines for bad driving?

    Offenders are getting away with breaking the law because their cars are registered to a company or because officials cannot track them down, says the Comptroller and Auditor General's report, out today.

    There is also a high failure rate in serving summons by the Garda, with the C&AG finding that around half the summonses issued were not served.

  • 17:21

    Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy has called for the Garda to urgently address “significant” shortcomings in the fixed penalty system to make sure it is fair and maintains public confidence.

    Read more.

  • 17:29

    Can ye take any more of this?

  • 17:33
    Oh go on so.

    Around €3.3 million was spent on a now-abandoned project to develop a new State Pathology Office and facilities for the Dublin Coroner in Marino in Dublin city , the report of the Comptroller states. [Our correspondent Martin Wall fished this one out].

    "Moves to develop the new centre, to be undertaken between the Department of Justice and Dublin City Council, commenced in 2007. However the report says that due to delays relating to planning, procurement and the building contractor going into receivership, the project was ultimately shelved," writes Martin.

    "A partially-constructed complex on the site was subsequently demolished and an asset under development of €2.28 million was written off."

    "The report says that the net project cost, after taking into account a bond payment, came to €3.3 million."

    "The report says that the Department of Justice and Dublin City Council are 'examining the feasibility of pursuing a significantly-scaled down project' using the former Whitehall Garda Station which is owned by the Office of Public Works."

  • 17:51
    The Office of Public Works warned the Government in 2006 about a land swap deal involving Harcourt Terrace Garda Station that ended up costing the State €32.6 million   - Fiona Gartland found this sifting through the Comptroller and Auditor General's report.

    Read more on this in tomorrow's Irish Times.
  • 18:10
    Right, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.

    Plenty from the C&AG's report there for you to regale your friends with. 

    The Daily Wire is back tomorrow at 9am. Keep up to date overnight on and @IrishTimesLive.

     Oíche mhaith.