Dáil Éireann - Volume 524 - 12 October, 2000

Written Answers. - Review Group on Auditing.

68. Mr. O'Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on the report of the Review Group on Auditing; the steps she will take to ensure implementation of the recommendations made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21572/00]

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): I established the review group on auditing, under the chairmanship of Senator O'Toole, following from the Committee of Public Accounts inquiry into DIRT. The report of the review group, published in July, is the first occasion since the foundation of the State that the subject of auditing has received such detailed attention. I was extremely pleased with the work of the review group and the comprehensive nature of its final report. The final report contains 80 far-reaching recommendations covering the following four main areas: the regulation of the accounting profession; auditor independence; the role of the auditor in ensuring compliance with statutory provisions; and the auditing of financial institutions.

These recommendations will involve statutory changes particularly to the Companies Acts and the Central Bank Acts as well as changes to the constitutions and professional standards of the main professional accountancy bodies. The report also recommends the establishment of an oversight board to supervise the regulation by the accountancy bodies of their members' professional standards.

I gave an opportunity to the professional accountancy bodies, the users of accountancy services and the public in general to make known to me their views on this report and particularly on its recommendations. To date my Department has received 31 submissions on the report and these submissions are currently being considered. Following from this I intend to present a package of proposals to Government to seek approval to implement the recommendations contained in the report.

The recommendations in the review group's report address a centrally important area of corporate governance which, in conjunction with the Company Law Enforcement Bill, will give us the kind of regulatory framework we need to ensure there is an effective system of corporate governance in place in Ireland.