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Euromillions Winning Ticket Sold In Tipperary

A very lucky Irish person (or persons) has won a prize of €500,000 in last night’s ‘Euromillions’ draw.

The winning numbers were 7, 16, 25, 32 and 45 and the ticket was sold here in Co. Tipperary; that’s according to confirmation from Lotto HQ.

One lucky person from France did win the Euromillions jackpot, and will walk away with €83,397,527, having matched five numbers plus two stars.

Now the search is on in Tipperary to find the winner, so do take time to check out that ticket in your pocket this morning.

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New €50 Bank Note In Circulation From Yesterday

A new €50 bank note, with enhanced security characteristics and featuring a portrait watermark of the Greek figure Europa, went into circulation across all Euro Zone countries yesterday.

It is claimed that the new €50 bill will offer better protection against counterfeiters and can easily be checked by persons using the ‘look, feel and tilt’ method. For example; (a) There is a portrait window that when held against the light, the hologram itself becomes transparent. (b) To assist those visually impaired there is raised print and raised lines along the side of the note. (c) While on the main image, the lettering and the large value numeral feel thicker, the colour of the number 50 changes when tilted; changing from emerald green to deep blue.

The design of these new bank notes are similar to notes already introduced in recent years in the €5, €10 and €20 ranges.

The Central bank states that the new currency also offers second-level security for use by professional cash handlers, as well as special security features that the Central Bank itself alone can recognise.

Last year some 307,000 x €50 notes were identified as being counterfeit.
While the new note will circulate alongside existing €50 notes; the Central Bank expect to have some 50% of all old notes removed from circulation within the next 12 months.

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Good News Week For Self Employed Persons

Some 450,000 self-employed persons as and from today are entitled to a free dental and optical check-up.

Yes, you will all remember the announcement in the last Budget that these benefits which had been previously removed from all PRSI workers, are to be returned.

Paying a different class of PRSI these Social Welfare benefits were never available to those that worked for themselves under the umbrella of self-employed  persons.  So it comes as a pleasant surprise that, for the first time, beginning from today all self-employed people; i.e. Small business owners, Farmers, Trades people, Freelancers, Contractors and Professionals, can all get free dental and optical exams through their PRSI contributions.

These benefits will also extend to the dependent spouses of workers, giving them access to regular dental and optical examinations, totally free of cost for the first time.

Self-employed people will also be able to avail of a grant, to the tune of 50% of cost, in respect of hearing aids. Same purchases are limited to a maximum of €500 per each device, over a time period of every four years.

Of course now that you know you need +200 lenses and 8 fillings, can you actually afford to have this work initiated and completed?

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PAC To Hear Full Details Of Garda Financial Irregularities

Templemore Garda Training College Campus.

Some nineteen recommendations have been made concerning the financial irregularities found at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

The governments Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman, Mr Seán Fleming (Fianna Fáil) has requested that the Garda Commissioner, Mrs Nóirín O’Sullivan, should now be called on to further explain what he himself described as “a breakdown of all financial controls” at the Garda College campus.

The Garda Internal Audit Section have forwarded a report to the Minister for Justice, Mrs Frances Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner, Mrs Nóirín O’Sullivan. Same focuses on previous and outdated accounting practices; detailing so called financial irregularities at the Tipperary College, over the past 6.5 years approximately.

Same report (Audited between January 2009 and March 2016, when around €112m was spent), based on 50 bank accounts audited, is understood to contain evidence of the complex switching of funds between financial statements, resulted in a non-transparent system of accounting, which indicates that monies were possibly expended on gifts and entertainment.

The audit report is understood to have contained the following information:
(A) The auditors stated that they could give no assurance that the financial controls at the Garda College were compliant with public financial procedures or the Garda Finance Code.

(B) A sum of €124,903 was collected in rent for Dromad Farm, Clonmore, Templemore, Co. Tipperary. [Latter was a 220 acre site, purchased using tax payer funding, for use by the college as a possible Tactical Training Centre, at the Celtic Tiger inflated price of €5.5 million, back about 2006. The property was never used for the intended purpose.]

While the holding company for this land was operated by Garda College management as directors, the Office of Public Works (OPW), it would now appear, was the legal owner of this property.  In their right therefore, the report states, the OPW were entitled to receive this financial emolument, some of which may have actually been spent on entertainment, presentations, sponsorship and donations to charity, e.g. Fiacri House & Restaurant, Boulerea, Knock, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary (€740.00), Lions Club (€120.00), Special Olympics (€100.00), St Joseph’s School (€200.00), and four presentations made on the transfer and retirement of senior Garda personnel (€1,588.00).

The report also states that Garda staff, who were Directors of the land company now need to correct the public record and make declarations under the Ethics in Public Office and Standards in Public Office legislation. It also insists that all land and buildings at Templemore should be transferred immediately into the ownership of the OPW, to which the latter should be paid more than €120,000 in back rent.

(C) It found that some 37% of a ‘Laundry and Services’ account, was not being used for the true purpose stated. Indications relating to this account suggest that monies were used for other purposes, e.g. Meals and Entertainment (€7,231.00), Contributions to Charities (€3,030.00), Parish Clergy (€2,150.00) and Golf Society (€1,040.00).

(D) Issues found in relation to the College Bar possibly relate to poor management and inadequate stock control, rather than any suspicion of theft or fraud.

The auditors now recommend
(1) A company based at the college, known as the ‘Garda College Sports Field Company Limited’ be wound up.
(2) Funding applications from College Clubs and Societies be evaluated in a more transparent manner.
(3) The report criticises the fact that Garda staff in administrative roles at the college, remain in ignorance regarding public financial procedures, essential to the correct running of the college.

This report also stresses that its findings are only an interim testimony and that further more in-depth auditing is possibly required.

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Allegations Of Financial Irregularities At Garda College

An Garda Síochána is due to publish a report with regard to what are seen as ‘financial irregularities’ at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co. Tipperary.

The Garda’s Internal Audit Section have examined financial transactions over a number of years at the Templemore college and are understood to have discovered what are regarded as financial irregularities, suggesting that money may have been spent on gifts and entertainment.

The report, forwarded to the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner, identified a large number of bank accounts examined as part of a non-transparent system of accounting. One such account, identified as a laundry account; it appears was not being used for the purpose as identified.

However, the Garda Commissioner, Mrs Nóirín O’Sullivan, has stated that she regards the issue as merely a past legacy problem. While she admits that the then prevailing accounting practices would not be in acceptable by today’s standards, there has never been in fact any misappropriation of money or misuse of public funding.

Last night Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Mrs Frances Fitzgerald informed those in attendance in Dáil Éireann that the report raises governance issues.  Same will be referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General and to the Public Accounts Committee whose mission is to provide independent assurance that public funds and resources are used in accordance with the law and are managed to good effect while properly accounted for; thus, contributing to improvement in public administration.

For the last week, the Garda force nationally has come under strong criticism, following serious irregularities identified in road traffic policing; involving issues around breath testing and speeding convictions.

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