The Health Service Executive is submitting a formal complaint to an Garda Síochána about a controversial €2.35m training fund whose accounts have been queried.

A HSE Internal Audit Report found that the fund had been used to pay for 31 foreign trips to Australia, America, the UK and Hong Kong, but was unable to account for the money spent - or the reasons for spending it.

€250,000 a year had been paid from the Department of Health via the HSE into an account called the ‘SIPTU National Health and Local Government Levy Account.’

However, SIPTU has categorically denied that the funds went into any account under its control.

A union official is currently the subject of internal enquiries in relation to this matter.

The HSE had already notified the gardaí about its findings, but will now proceed to initiate a formal complaint.

HSE Chief Executive Professor Brendan Drumm is also ordering an independent investigation of internal compliance and governance arrangements since 2005 relating to the €60m SKILL training programme for lower skilled health workers.

€250,000 a year from that fund was earmarked for the payments to SIPTU.

That investigation is expected to examine which HSE personnel might have travelled, why they did so, and whether travel protocols were breached.

It is also understood that the HSE has today complied with SIPTU's request for further information regarding the findings of the internal audit.

It has responded to a series of questions submitted by SIPTU to Professor Drumm.

It has also resubmitted 69 pages of documentation which had previously been given to SIPTU last October, along with a further 12 pages of documents to assist the union in its internal investigation.

While a full list of those on the trips has not yet emerged, it has been confirmed that government officials from the Departments of Finance and Health were among those whose travel was paid for.

Minister for Health Mary Harney has said tough decisions will have to be taken if there was inappropriate use of public money in the use of a HSE training fund.

Ms Harney said that she must await the outcome of the investigation into the matter.

She added that she is studying the relevant audit report, which she received in the past week.

It is her wish that the report be put in the public domain 'as soon as possible'.

She said that the Department of Health and the HSE are preparing documentation for the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General and that 'no amount of [public] money should be inappropriately used'.

Minister Harney pointed out that the HSE internal audit detected this matter and welcomed the fact that the payment of money from the fund has been suspended.

Earlier, Fine Gael called on the Minister to make a statement on the controversial training fund.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Fine Gael Finance Spokesman Kieran O'Donnell said the Minister needed to provide clarity on the issue.