Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board call on Minister to release Thorn report

We can't move forward otherwise, board members say

Conor McHugh

Reporter:

Conor McHugh

Email:

conor@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board call on Minister to release Thorn report

Dr Richard Thorn's report into the 2015 accounts has been to be published by the Minister for Education

Days after RTE’s Prime Time revealed details of allegations against former KWETB Chief Executive, members of the board of the Education Training Board have called for the report that the broadcast was based on to be published.

The RTE Investigates report broadcast on Thursday, June 14, alleged that the former Kildare Wicklow Education Training Board chief executive Sean Ashe participated in public tendering processes where the contracts were won by companies associated with some of his family members.

One Kildare based company which won contracts, Ashten Engineering, is run by Mr. Ashe’s son Michael and his daughter-in-law Jennifer Ashe, the RTE report has claimed.

RTE based its claims on a copy of a report by Dr Richard Thorn who was commissioned by the Department of Education last year to conduct an investigation into the matter. It was largely completed before Christmas, and although it was referred to the Gardai who have begun an investigation, it has as yet, not been released to the Board. 

Although board members have seen a draft version of that report, the full report has yet to be released.

Cllr  Daragh Fitzpatrick expressed his frustration the delay in publishing the report was preventing the organisation from moving forward.

“The report that is sitting on Minister Bruton’s desk,” he said.

And he asked the new chief executive Dr Deirdre Keyes to “in the strongest possible way to press the minister to please release this report to the board.

“We need to but closure on it, and move forward. It’s in the best interests of every student, every member of staff, and everybody here involved around this board that we move forward some shape or form.

“We have to, at some stage, move forward.”

Responding, the chairman of the board, Noel Merrick said was “so unfortunate that report wasn’t out last week. “It would have been far better for this board if that report had been published so that Prime Time could deal with the report, rather than a draft report.

Read more: Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board spending subject of RTÉ Prime Time investigation

“We’re all constrained because it’s confidential. Also, that Thorn report includes a massive amount of work that this board put into the response and an action plan.

“How are we to progress an action plan that’s buried in a report that you won’t publish? And I cannot for the life of me, understand what kind of thinking goes on around these kinds of things.”

He said he would continue to push for the report to be published, adding that it was “in nobody’s interest to have it where it is at the moment.

“And then we can have facts in front of us which would be far better for us all.”