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Siptu to return public funds from disputed account

The trade union says that all the disputed money will be returned to the exchequer.

THE TRADE UNION Siptu has said it will return all public funds remaining in the bank account at the centre of the Skill training scheme controversy, reports the Irish Times.

The account, named the Siptu National Health and Local Authority Levy Fund, was operated by a Siptu officials and a long-standing member.

Despite over €4m being paid into the account, from a variety of state source, Siptu has said that it knew nothing about the account before August when it took it over.

It emerged earlier this month that the HSE paid €2.3m into the account to go towards funding for the Skill training programme, which was aimed at health service staff.

However, it came to light that Skill funds were spent on foreign trips for members of Siptu, civil servants, and HSE officials – as well as one party that cost €1,586.

Several investigations are now taking place into how the money was spent.

Yesterday the Dáil public accounts committee called for the Siptu bank account to be frozen and said that any public funds in the account should be returned to the exchequer once inquiries were complete. He declined to comment on the size of the funds remaining in the account.

Jack O’Connor, Siptu president, responded by saying that the account had been frozen in August and added:

It goes without saying that any public funds in the account should and will be returned to the exchequer.

O’Connor also said that the trade union was committed to finding out the details surrounding the undocumented spending of €348,000.

Tha Dáil committee has named six people that it plans to call to give evidence regarding the matter:

  • Alan Smith, retired general manager of Skill
  • Matt Merrigan trustee of the bank account
  • Jack Kelly, trustee of the bank account
  • Bill Atlee, chairman of the Skill steering group
  • Tom Dowling, retired finance official
  • Frank Ahern, retired Department of Health official

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