The HSE has notified gardaí about concerns regarding a €60m training scheme for lower-skilled workers in the healthcare sector.

The latest HSE annual report reveals that an audit uncovered inadequate documentation to support expenditure of €2.35m within the programme between 2002 and 2009.

In 2004, the HSE and certain unions negotiated the establishment of the SKILL programme to train around 2,000 health care workers in lower-skill grades.

€60m was allocated to the scheme between 2004 and 2008. But late last year, a HSE internal audit was unable to track down what €2.35m was spent on.

The HSE’s annual report states that ‘the audit identified weaknesses in the governance, control of, and accountability for funds disbursed for administration of the programme.

‘It identifies payments of €2.53m to one organisation over the period 2002 to 2009 [which were] not accompanied by adequate supporting documentation. All payments to that organisation have ceased since November, 2009.’

HSE auditors raised concerns regarding foreign trips, taxi journeys, meals and other expenditure over a five-year period from 2004.

In a statement, SIPTU categorically rejected media reports that it had received any of the €2.35m from either the Department of Health or the HSE.

Other sources queried how the HSE which disbursed the funds had failed to keep track of them.

Meanwhile the head of the SKILL steering group, Bill Attley, told RTÉ News that he had a letter from the HSE confirming that any minor technicalities in the SKILL’s accounts had been fully resolved.

He said no foreign travel had been authorised or taken by any member of the SKILL steering group.

It is hoped the gardaí can track down who got this money, what it was supposed to be spent on, and where the money actually went in the end.