Sunday Times piece on Fás

We’ve a story in today’s Sunday Times about an interesting building that Fás has been renting from a Mr Terry Oliver. It’s behind a paywall, so no link, unfortunately. It took several months to compile through a series of FOI requests which were funded from you lot, the people who do be readin’ this here blog.

The Sunday Times piece opens…

FAS, the state training agency, is renting a warehouse from the former tax partner of a consultancy firm which has been “consistently successful” in tendering for work from the agency.

Unit 9 at Tolka Valley business park in Finglas, north Dublin, has been rented since 2000 from Terry Oliver, formerly of OSK, an accounting and business consultancy.  Internal audits have concluded  that Greg Craig, the former head of corporate affairs at Fás, had a conflict of interest in awarding contracts to OSK because of his close personal relationship with Oliver.

I will post it in full on Monday.

For those of you who bought a copy of the paper and therefore have the context, here’s the documents…

1) November 2000 – Solicitors refer to finance and admin manager asking that the lease be concluded “as expeditiously as possible”, before the lease was signed off.

2) Fire safety compliance questioned if building altered. Work was later done on the building.

3) Mr Oliver disputes cancellation of lease in reply to letter from training centre.

4) March 2003 – Manager of training centre writes to Mr Oliver to confirm they will seek to cancel the lease.

5) Email from Richard Keegan who assessed the site and found it was not fire safety compliant; did not have a fundamental requirement for running applicable courses; had been closed in the past as it didn’t meet basic health and safety regulations; does not have ventilation for gas welding… “not to mention all the other regulations it has been in breach of in the past”.

6) June 2007 – Concerns raised about the effectiveness of running a plumbing course in a building with no gas facilities.

7) Manager of training centre says that sub-letting or amending the site would not be cost-effective, notes site would require significant work to make it suitable for a prospective tenant.

8) October 2009 – Letter from local manager tells of how they had attempted to get out of the lease recently once more, notes the lease was “watertight”.

9) Example cheque for monthly rent.

10) Example invoice.

Copy of inquiry sent to Fás Press office last Tuesday. Please note that most of the questions listed could be answered from the 300+ pages of documents we obtained under FOI for this story, we were looking to get useful quotes.

This type of work is utterly uneconomical for two freelance journalists to undertake. Even without including costs for our time spent working on the story, we’d still make a loss simply on expenses incurred. All money received from the Sunday Times goes back into the FOI fund.

I’ll post some additional information later in the week.

Knackered, until next time.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Times piece on Fás”

  1. “This type of work is utterly uneconomical for two freelance journalists to undertake.”

    At some point, you’re going to have to address that elephant in the room, unless your business model is to subsidise Rupert Murdoch.

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