SIPTU has lodged €348,000 with a Commissioner for Oaths to cover potential liabilities for reimbursement of controversial expenses highlighted by the Comptroller and Auditor General and a HSE Internal Audit Report.

This follows revelations about questionable expenditure of money intended for training that was paid into a SIPTU-named account.

However, SIPTU has consistently denied that it had any role in or knowledge of the bank account through which controversial SKILL funds were managed, although the account bore its name and the signatories were SIPTU members.

It reiterated that position today, but confirmed it has obtained control of the account in recent weeks during its internal enquiry.

It believes the union has no liability in respect of money under investigation.

However, it has informed the HSE that, without prejudice, any payments in respect of expenses which cannot properly be vouched will be repaid.

To this end a sum of €348,000 has been lodged with a Commissioner for Oaths, in good faith.

The Chief Executive of the HSE, Cathal Magee, and the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Michael Scanlan, will be questioned on the matter by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee in the morning.

But SIPTU members may also have questions about why their union is setting aside almost €350,000 to reimburse controversial expenditure for which it says it has no liability.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach has rejected Opposition suggestions that the Government was turning a blind eye to waste in spending public money.

Speaking in the Dáil, Brian Cowen said that no Government or minister could condone a waste of public funds.

The internal audit report for the Health Service Executive outlined a catalogue of waste of public money and serious breaches of corporate governance involving funds for the SKILL training programme.

The Taoiseach said matters raised in the audit into the controversial programme have been referred to gardaí.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the Irish people were yet again waking up to a scandalous list of waste.

Mr Kenny said it appears that the Government 'do not give a damn'.

He also asked if it was intended to dismantle the HSE in its current form in light of the litany of wasted expenditure.

Mr Cowen said he believed the centralised HSE system works better than what came before it.

Minister for Health Mary Harney said any waste or misappropriation of money by the HSE would not be acceptable to her, the Government or the health service, and will be addressed.