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Sam Boal

PAC will reconvene if former RTÉ chief Dee Forbes and others become available

Two Oireachtas committees stand ready to return during the summer if witnesses become available.

THE OIREACHTAS PUBLIC Accounts Committee (PAC) will reconvene before the Dáil returns this autumn if witnesses pertaining to the RTÉ payments scandal become available.  

PAC chairperson, Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley said his committee has held three engagements since the onset of the ongoing controversy surrounding the payments by RTÉ to Ryan Tubridy through his agent Noel Kelly, and has received a significant amount of documentation. 

The plan is to use the summer recess to assess the documentation, however, if witnesses who have been invited but have yet to appear before the PAC become available, the committee will reconvene,  Stanley said. 

Former director-general Dee Forbes and former head of content Jim Jennings have yet to appear before any Oireachtas committees.

Forbes has since left the organisation and Jennings is on sick leave.

Stanley said the committee intends to engage with witnesses who have not yet appeared before it and, if it deems it necessary, will consider the use of powers of compellability.

“Should substantial new information come to light, or should witnesses who have not yet come before the committee become available, the committee may deem it necessary to a call a meeting before the Dáil resumes,” he said. 

“The Committee has requested additional information from RTÉ, and has also requested sight of the second Grant Thornton report, the report of the forensic accountant appointed by Minister Catherine Martin and any interim reports arising from the wider governance review of RTÉ commissioned by the Minister as soon as these become available.

“The Dáil has risen for the summer recess so the committee will take the opportunity to review the evidence presented to it so far, consider further reports as they become available and will meet again in public in the autumn to further examine the matter,” added Stanley. 

The statement comes a day after Niamh Smyth, chairperson of the Oireachtas Media Committee told RTÉ’s This Week programme that she still wants to hear from other witnesses who have not yet given evidence, including 

Smyth said those “two critical voices have been absent from the conversation all along” and that they “had in integral part to play in all of the wheeling and dealing that went on here”.

Smyth said: “There is a huge part of the jigsaw puzzle missing at the moment.

“Our committee stands ready to meet with those particular witnesses when they are available to do that.”

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