Fraud investigation at Co. Donegal Education Centre

Sue Doherty

Reporter:

Sue Doherty

Email:

sue.doherty@donegaldemocrat.com

Fraud investigation at Co. Donegal Education Centre

The Director of the Co. Donegal Education Centre has written to schools across the county confirming that an investigation is underway into the alleged misappropriation of funds at the centre.
It is understood that hundreds of thousands of euro may have been misappropriated over an extended period of time from the centre, which is based in Donegal Town.
In a letter sent to school principals this week and seen by the Donegal Democrat, Jacqui O'Reilly Dillon wrote, "Having taken up the position of Director with Co. Donegal Education Centre in June 2015, it became apparent that there were financial irregularities and that funds had been misappropriated.
"The DES [Department of Education and Skills] and the Gardaí were immediately notified of this."
Both the Dept. and the Gardaí have been carrying out investigations over the last year, Ms Dillon continued, "and these concerns have been confirmed."
Ms Dillon, who is principal of Magh Éne College in Bundoran, is on secondment to the DEC.
She told the Democrat that, on taking up the post, "part of my duties was familiarising myself with the finances for the centre and concerns were raised."
Staff have been working very closely with both agencies to assist their investigations, Ms Dillon continued.
In addition, the DEC's management committee appointed auditors to carry out a forensic audit and the centre also conducted its own internal audit.
It's alleged that fraud was carried out "over recent years," Ms Dillon told the Democrat. She would not comment on the amount of monies involved.
The management committee are satisfied, she added, that any alleged fraud has ceased.
A Garda spokesperson confirmed that an investigation into fraud at the centre is ongoing but would not comment further.
The Dept. of Education and Skills has not yet replied to our query.
See Thursday's Donegal Democrat for more.