Brennan denies risk to funding


No millennium funding has been misappropriated, the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach, Mr Seamus Brennan, assured the House. "No monies of any sort have gone astray in the millennium - absolutely none.

"The auditor general and the accounting officer have told me that in the file here, quite clearly. I have read it into the record of the House that at no stage were funds put at risk at any time; that procedures were followed; the committee approved all expenditure and the Cabinet subsequently approved all expenditure."

He said he would have no difficulty answering questions about the issue at any time.

He was replying to Labour leader Mr Ruairi Quinn who said a Comptroller and Auditor General report on the matter was a "damning indictment of the sloppiness and carelessness with which traditional procedures have been adhered to".

He sought an assurance from Mr Brennan that funds did not go astray and that a full and comprehensive report be given to the House.

"This is not routine expenditure in the traditional way. This is something that was voted upon in this House and I believe is answerable to the House."

Mr Brennan said criticisms made by the Comptroller and Auditor General had been taken on board. "That assessment was done at a time when there was enormous pressure on the millennium office, with a very small staff. It did not come as a surprise."