Allegations that a FÁS-funded tutor in Waterford had students do construction at his home – and that two staff who raised what should have been an “obvious” conflict of interest were later let go – have been raised by the chairman of the Dáil’s Committee of Public Accounts.

A confidential report, leaked late last year, included claims that students from the Waterford Youth Training and Education Centre (WYTEC) were taken to an instructor’s property to carry out building work.

It’s understood former staff members made a series of complaints to FÁS – which funds the centre to the tune of hundreds of thousands of euros annually – but no disciplinary action was taken.

WYTEC’s board of management accepted the findings. When questioned as part of the external inquiry, a WYTEC tutor admitted to offering the training centre the use of a large shed on their home property, for practical construction training as there was a shortage of suitable facilities on the training centre grounds.

Another WYTEC trainer subsequently brought students to the property in 2007-’08 and carried out the construction work.

The tutor who owned the property strenuously denied it was for any personal gain, saying anything built would later be demolished. However, all of the structures were still in place when the investigation took place early last year.

The external investigation concluded that “the potential difficulties” of the arrangement “should have been obvious.”

See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.