Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB)

Elected Members nominated to Other Body

Cllr Aoife Breslin

Cllr Réada Cronin

Cllr Daragh Fitzpatrick

Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy

Cllr Teresa Murray

Cllr Naoise Ó Cearuíl

Cllr Brendan Weld

Date of elected members nomination to Other Body

June 2014

Directorate to which Other Body is aligned

Department of Education and Skills


Remit of Other Body

Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board was established in 2013 under the provisions of the Education and Training Board Act. Its primary function under this Act is the better co-ordination and delivery of education and training in the counties of Kildare and Wicklow. Equally and of no less importance is the regulation of that co-ordination and delivery in line with the statutory requirements of Government, in particular the Department of Education and Skills, SOLAS and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The ETB Act 2013.

In 2015 KWETB was in receipt of €111,265,946. In 2016 and 2017 the allocation to KWETB grew to €115,391,644 and €130,008,773 respectively. In 2018 the total budget was €135,187,357. Almost 70% is allocated to salaries, with KWETB employing 2,572 staff, the majority of whom are teachers, tutors and support persons to KWETB services and schools. There are 12,453 primary/post – primary students and circa 10,000 learners in Further Education and Training. KWETB has 25 Schools – primary, post–primary and one Institute of Further Education. Further Education and Training is delivered in 25 Centres and through various Contracted Training programmes including Apprenticeships. KWETB is responsible for the provision of Youth Services and Social Inclusion projects in both counties, in addition to supporting many other initiatives and services, for example, Music Generation, School Completion and Outdoor Education. The Capital Programme in 2015 was in excess of €14.2 million and in 2018 this has increased to €15.7 million.

Any additional information

KWETB is the subject of following investigations:

1. C&AG (Triggered by breach of procurement guidelines and failures of declarations of interest by former CE Seán Ashe.)

2. Dept of Education & Skills

3. Garda Economic Crime Bureau – still ongoing.

4. Further Garda Investigation ongoing regarding matters arising from extension

5. Issues arising at St Conleth’s school extension triggered a separate Garda investigation

The KWETB has also had to attend Public Accounts Committee on two occasions this term, firstly in November 2017 and again in February 2019 following the publication of C&AG report into the 2015 accounts. (Report Attd)

Key Conclusions from C&AG’s report of the 2015 accounts

KWETB did not actively pursue non-submission of declarations, nor did it critically review the content of declarations. The Board did not effectively challenge the executive during the period under review.


13th July 2017 C&AG contacts the then Chair of the Board Cllr Jim Ruttle and ViceChair Cllr Brendan Weld and Chair of the Audit Committee Tony Lenehan regarding audit concerns.

July 2017 The then chairs engaged legal advice regarding the C&AG’s concerns. They were informed by the legal advisers of the requirement under section 4.5 of the Code that they consult with the Board in order to engage legal advice in the first place. They were advised to inform the Board of the C&AGs concerns and to conduct an investigation and an employment investigation with the purpose of seeking to suspend the then CE.

Between July 2017 and Sept 2017 The Chairs were given the same or similar advice on at least five documented occasions strongly reiterating the advice.

September 2017 the Board were informed that the C&AG had concerns arising from his Audit. The advice from the legal advisers to suspend the then CE, pending an employment investigation was not provided to the Board.

October 2017 Then CE Sean Ashe announced he would be retiring in December 2017

November 2017 Chair Cllr Jim Ruttle, and Vice-chair Cllr Brenda Weld resigned their positions as Chair and vice-chair but retained their positions on the Board

December 2017 Sean Ashe retired

December 2017 The Board withheld approval when asked by the executive of the KWETB to approve payment of the €83,000 bill for legal advice engaged by the Chairs on the grounds that; the Board was not consulted before the legal advisers were engaged, and the Board had not been given access to the legal advice for which they were being asked to pay.

January 2018 the current Chair Noel Merrick informed the Board that the then acting CE Rory O’Toole had issued an instruction to pay the bill

March 2018 the Board resolved to set up a sub-committee to review the circumstances surrounding the engagement of the legal advisers and around the discharge of their fee.

March 2018 the sub-committee through the new legal advisor Michael Lanigan were provided with a copy legal advice

May 2018 The sub-committee reviewing the engagement of the legal advisers and the payment of the €83,000 reported that the former Chair and Vice Chair had sough legal advice, on behalf of the board, but without their knowledge and this advice was not furnished to the Board until such time as the appropriate period for the Board to act on such advice had lapsed.

September 2018 Board was informed that Chair of Audit Committee was to resign by the end of September 2018

September 2018 The Board resolved that the former Chair Cllr Ruttle, vice-chair Cllr Weld and former Chair of the Audit Committee Tony Lenehan explain why they had conducted themselves as outlined around the legal advice. The Board is still awaiting this explanation.