Written Answers. - Confidential Settlements.

Thursday, 12 December 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 472 No. 8

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[1707]

  12.  Mr. B. O'Keeffe  Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe   asked the Minister for Finance  Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn   his views on the number of confidential settlements being made by Government Departments in view of the consequent restrictions that such settlements place on the ability of the Committee of Public Accounts to perform its function. [22605/96]

Minister for Finance (Mr. Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn  Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  I do not agree the small number of payments treated as confidential has any material effect on the ability of the Committee of Public Accounts to perform its functions. Details of all settlements, irrespective of agreements to treat them as confidential, are and will continue to be available to the Comptroller and Auditor General. Agreement by a Minister or a Department to a settlement involving an undertaking not to publish the name of the beneficiary or the amount may from time to time be necessary in order to facilitate a more cost effective settlement from the State's point of view. While my sanction is required for the amount of payment involved in any settlement arising from litigation, the actual details of settlement, including the confidentiality aspect, are negotiated between the legal representatives of the individuals concerned and the State's legal advisers and are not submitted to my Department. Deputies may rest assured that all payments to which withholding tax applies are dealt with in accordance with the law, whether or not the settlements are confidential.


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