Human error costs State agency €720,000, notes Dáil group

Public Accounts Committee to flag incident at NTMA in report and urge stricter controls

An error in entering a currency for a trade resulted in a loss of €720,000 for the National Treasury Management Agency, the Public Accounts Committee has noted.

The committee will publish a periodic report on Tuesday drawing attention to the error, and recommending that the agency introduce stricter controls and examine procedures to eliminate the possibility of a repeat.

The mistake, attributed to human error, is understood to have been made during a trade on behalf of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and was included in an agency audit report earlier this year.

By the time it was discovered and rectified, it had resulted in a loss of €721,000.


The report, which has been discussed previously by members but by Monday night had yet to be circulated to them, is also expected to recommend that fees for legal work carried out for the State should be disclosed publicly.

The fees paid to barristers working for the State on the Apple case have not been disclosed because of General Data Protection Regulation concerns.The report is expected to be critical of this.

The document is also likely to criticise the way in which private practice by hospital consultants in public hospitals is being monitored. TDs have been told monitoring of such private work does not include several areas, such as some outpatient appointments and maternity cases.

The committee is also likely to criticise several aspects of Garda overtime and point to budget overspends in the Department of Justice every year since 2013.

It has discussed repeatedly the annual requirement for a supplementary estimate in the department and is likely to be critical of its inability to produce accurate estimates. It is understood the committee also views aspects of the Garda overtime bill as unsustainable.

It is also likely to recommend that new controls on health spending introduced this year – after repeated overspends in recent years – should be strengthened. In particular, it wants a special group established to monitor spending. It wants this group to include officials from the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure, who should produce quarterly reports for TDs.

It is also understood that the committee will criticise the lack of a system to share information on medical negligence cases across the health service. TDs have been told that when a hospital settles such a case it does not share the lessons it has learned.

The report is also likely to be critical of the failure to find accommodation for asylum seekers who have been granted leave to remain in Ireland and who end up staying in direct provision centres.

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times