Subscriber OnlyPolitics

‘Incredible’: RSA decision not to appear before Public Accounts Committee criticised

Considerable anger on Public Accounts Committee over State body’s failure to appear

Social Democrats TD and deputy chair of the Public Accounts Committee Catherine Murphy has described as “incredible” a decision by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) not to appear before the PAC.

In a letter to the committee, the chief executive of the RSA Sam Waide said the authority could not appear partly due to “operational priorities”.

Mr Waide said the RSA has “limited availability” due to “immediate road safety priorities”.

There is understood to be considerable anger on the committee on foot of the letter.


“The letter the Public Accounts Committee received this week from the Road Safety Authority was incredible, to be honest,” Ms Murphy said.

“The RSA have not appeared before the PAC since 2018 so it’s time enough now that the accounting officer [AO] made themselves available and we have room to facilitate that.

“Clear audits aside, that still doesn’t give a State body a free pass, the AO is obliged to appear before the PAC to assist us with a scrutiny of their financial statements.”

The RSA had been invited to appear on Thursday, June 27th.

In his letter, Mr Waide said the Comptroller and Auditor General, Seamus McCarthy, had provided a clean audit opinion in the RSA’s 2022 financial statements.

“Secondly, since September 2023 the Road Safety Authority has appeared on three occasions in the Joint Oireachtas’s transport committee, most recently on 24th, April 2024.

“These committee appearances have included services updates, organisational activities and road safety interventions, including those with other road safety delivery agencies and stakeholders,” he wrote.

“Finally, a review of the Road Safety Authority, instructed by Minister Jack Chambers, is currently ongoing, including funding model and the management and oversight structures. The outcome of this review is due this summer. This will inform the future funding model and structure of the Road Safety Authority going forward.”

In follow-up to the reported criticism by PAC members, the RSA said on Friday that it had - in response to the committee’s invitation - indicated that “it was happy to appear before the Committee but requested a deferral to a later date”.

A spokeswoman for the RSA said the agency believes that a “committee appearance would be best informed by the completion of the forthcoming review of the RSA by [consultants] Indecon for the Department of Transport, and Government corresponding decisions on any relevant recommendations, especially as the review pertains to the RSA’s current and future funding model”.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times