Proper procurement protocols were not adhered to and standard foreign travel policy was not abided by FÁS, resulting in a loss to the Exchequer, according to a report released this afternoon.

The Public Accounts Committee report, which is based on five meetings from last year, found that FÁS should not have paid for flights of former board members, journalists and spouses of executives, while costs in respect of ministers and civil servants should have been borne by the department.

It also says FÁS spent €35m on advertising between 2003 and 2007 but much of this was expended in ‘an unorthodox fashion from a procurement perspective’.

The committee recommends that the board of FÁS be restructured, making it smaller.

It says the automatic right of unions and employers' groups to make appointments to the board should be removed.

The PAC also recommends that ‘the internal audit, which uncovered breaches in internal controls, which allowed favouritism to be shown by FÁS in granting contracts to certain companies, should be sent to the Director of Corporate Enforcement’.

In a statement FÁS says it welcomed the publication of the PAC report.

It says it has already agreed that whatever additional actions are necessary arising from the interim report will be fully implemented.

Read the full PAC report