A Health Service Executive audit has criticised financial controls at Our Lady’s Hospice in Harold's Cross after revealing that a contract worth €119,000 was awarded to a company with family connections to the then-CEO Mo Flynn.
Ms Flynn has insisted that the contract was only assigned after three quotes were sought, and that she had recused herself from the process of awarding it once she realised that one of the bidders was a company owned by her sister-in-law.
However, the HSE report says that evidence to support this could not be provided to an internal audit.
The audit also queried credit card expenditure on wine, restaurants, pubs and theatre tickets.
The HSE regularly audits bodies to whom it awards funding to ensure money is being properly spent and managed.
Our Lady’s Hospice cares for around 4,200 patients a year with around 200 beds, 600 staff and 330 volunteers. Income in 2016 was around €40m including €3m in public donations, and €1.1m in bequests in wills.
Its income in 2016 totalled around €40m. Around €24m comes from the HSE.
The current investigation followed an anonymous tip off regarding procurement issues.
The audit found that between 2010 and 2012, a contract worth almost €120,000 for human resources training was awarded to a company run by Ms Flynn's sister-in-law, and that her brother was also involved in operating the contract.
The audit also followed up on almost €35,000 in credit card payments over a five-year period.
€25,000 was attributable to direct operational costs, with a further €10,000 going for volunteer support and business entertainment, but the HSE found there was inadequate documents to support some of the expenditure.
Among the charges was €4,061 for wine.
Our Lady’s Hospice said this was for wine gift boxes for voluntary unpaid directors in recognition of their services.
€3,015 went on restaurants for meals which were said to be work-related.
€1,216 was attributed to pubs. The explanation for this was that it was hospitality in a local pub for participants in the annual "Light up a Life" ceremony at the hospice.
A further €680 was spent on a one-off basis on theatre tickets, which was understood to relate to a visit to a pantomime for staff and their children.
Our Lady’s Hospice has welcomed the audit, and has apologised unreservedly for the fact that its financial procedures were not sufficiently comprehensive.
It notes that the issues are historic, and that they have now put in place robust new procedures and have implemented 100% of the recommendations of the audit.
In her submissions to the HSE, Ms Flynn also accused the internal audit division of breaching fair procedures including by failing to allow her to comment on the investigation while it was ongoing.