Documents released today contain new information that questions Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's account of a key meeting about the controversy relating to finances in the Garda College in Templemore.

Ms O’Sullivan told the Public Accounts meeting last week that she first learned about the problems at the College in a very brief exchange with An Garda Síochána's Director of Human Resources, John Barrett, in the college in July 2015.

However, Mr Barrett contradicted her and told the PAC that the meeting had lasted over two hours.

Today Mr Barrett sent further documentation to the PAC which supports his account of what occurred at the meeting.

His note states that he was told the garda commissioner wanted to have the meeting to discuss a letter she had received from the Head of Legal Affairs, Ken Ruane.

Mr Ruane had advised the commissioner of his opinion that she was legally required to inform the minister for justice of the issues in the college under Section 41 of the Garda Act.

Ms O’Sullivan told the PAC last week that she acted immediately and properly from the time she first became aware of the issue on 27 July 2015.

However, the documents released to the PAC today indicate that Mr Barrett may have a different view about how the issue was handled.

Mr Barrett is one of the most senior civilians in An Garda Síochána. His appointment as Executive Director of Human Resources and People in October 2014 was seen as a major development in the modernisation of the force.

His notes outline his concerns about the delay in informing the internal auditors, the Comptroller & Auditor General, and the minister for justice.

The Head of Legal Affairs in An Garda Síochána, Ken Ruane, wrote to Ms O'Sullivan on 24 July advising her that she was legally obliged to inform Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald about this matter under Section 41 of the Garda Act.

Following the disputed meeting in the Garda College three days later, the Chief Administration Officer was told to move forward with a 'working group' to establish more facts before the minister would be informed.

Last week Commissioner O'Sullivan told the PAC that she did not inform the Minister in July 2015 as she wanted more information.

The commissioner repeatedly insisted that when she first became aware of this issue on 27 July 2015, she acted immediately and properly.

But Mr Barrett had his doubts about the purpose of the working group. He noted in a memo: "I became concerned very early on that the process was less about resolution and more about implementing a containment strategy."

On July 22 2016 he wrote a letter to an independent legal advisor, attaching a series of notes and memos outlining the events up to this date.

He said he had concluded that:

"There is a considerable legal, financial, governance and accountability problem in the Garda College, amounting to serious maladministration of millions of euro and improper accounting."

"This problem has been known and understood for a considerable period of time by many members of Garda senior management."

"The Chairman of the current and former Audit Committees was purposefully kept in the dark about this matter until very recently and mail traffic suggests that internal audit was to be kept at bay."

"Over the years many of those most closely associated with these arrangements in the Garda College have been promoted to very senior ranks and this practice has continued up to the present time."

Mr Barrett notes also states that he believes he has been marginalised, excluded from decisions germane to his role and functions and had his offices undermined in public.

Last September his role in An Garda Síochána was changed. He told the PAC: "Two pieces that were part of my original brief when I joined, the internal affairs area and Garda professional standards, were move to governance."

He said he believed this was "a retrograde step".

The Garda Commissioner insisted that this change was part of the ongoing programme of reform and modernisation in An Garda Síochána. She said it had nothing to do with Mr Barrett's efforts to have this issue investigated.

Mr Barrett concluded that the fact that these activities had been allowed to continue in plain sight for so long was "a powerful reflection of the degree to which those involved could rely upon protection from scrutiny, from consequence and from being held to account".