The Irish Mail on Sunday
KICKBACKS: THE PROOF
Bus Eireann official admits he accepted voucher for overnight stay in five-star hotel from a contractor. He was moved to another job but kept his title and his pay
A senior manager in Bus Éireann’s school transport scheme has admitted he accepted a banned gift from a contractor.
Rory Moylan, former chief clerical officer in Limerick’s school transport office, was investigated and disciplined for accepting a stay in a five-star hotel
against internal rules but he kept his rank and pay grade and was moved to another job.
The revelation comes as Bus Éireann this week released a report into allegations of corruption and bribes for routes. The report was ordered by three ministers last month after the MoS revealed a secret tape of a whistleblower being interviewed by a Bus Éireann investigation team.
The tape appeared to contradict a letter that Bus Éireann CEO Martin Nolan sent to the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee in February in which he claimed the whistleblower had withdrawn his allegations.
But this week’s report does not deal with a number of further allegations – and supporting evidence – that the ongoing MoS investigation into the €166m school transport scheme has uncovered.
The investigation has uncovered five whistleblowers in three areas
‘For my part, I still do not believe I was wrong’
alleging regular cash bribes, free holidays or hotel stays.
These further allegations were last week sent by the Transport Committee to gardaí for investigation.
Appearing before the committee Mr Nolan defended company procedures, saying all employees were given the internal code of conduct.
‘All employees have to sign that they have received it and that they understand it,’ he said.
He confirmed that five employees had been disciplined for breaches of the code in the past three years. He did not elaborate on what sanctions were applied.
But as the MoS can reveal today, the sanctions applied to Rory Moylan had little impact on his career.
Mr Moylan’s punishment consisted of a temporary letter on his employment file and a transfer to Limerick’s Expressway office.
The MoS spoke to the contractor who gave Mr Moylan the hotel voucher, former Galway hurler Tony Kilkenny, who said it was a thankyou, similar to gifts he had given many times before for contracts.
As chief clerk in Limerick, Mr Moylan was responsible for allocating school routes worth millions to private operators throughout Galway, Limerick and Clare.
In 2010, he accepted a voucher from Mr Kilkenny for an overnight stay at the G Hotel, Galway city’s only five-star hotel. Bus Éireann investigated Mr Moylan – but protected his identity – after an inspector raised concerns. Despite being reprimanded, he kept his rank and his pay grade when he moved to Expressway. ‘I’m still paid the same and, hand on heart, I have it a lot easier now than what I was doing. There was a lot more work there, a lot more stress,’ Mr Moy- lan told the MoS. Asked how he had been disciplined, he said: ‘I think they put a letter in my file for 12 months… along with probably more. It was a difficult time but I worked through the whole thing. I put in 55-, 60-hour weeks during the investigation because I still do not believe I was wrong.’
In 2011, Mr Moylan was restricted from acting as a company director when a family firm was wound up following a petition by the Revenue Commissioners.
Mr Moylan claims he was not made aware of the code of conduct and it appears that this is why he avoided further sanction.
According to the code, all staff must refuse all ‘bribes, gifts, hospitality, benefits or offers of preferential treatment which may affect one’s ability to make independent judgment and report any such approaches in writing to one’s superior.’
Gifts in excess of €70 must be declared, gifts worth more than €130 are forbidden, as is the acceptance of overnight accommodation. But Mr Moylan said: ‘That wasn’t made available to me at the time. It was made evident to me afterwards.’
Mr Moylan had also attracted attention because his wife was a driver for another private operator who was awarded school routes by the Limerick office. His brother too was awarded a school route by the Limerick office. Mr Moylan said he could see why people might think there could be impropriety though he denied any wrongdoing: ‘Now I can, yeah. I can, yeah, okay. But they went through the same thing as everybody else. The applications went in. The paper trail is there. My wife was driving for a contractor. She didn’t have the route. He signed the contract. She was driving.’
Mr Moylan said his brother’s route was signed off by another official.
Mr Kilkenny told the MoS he often provided thank-yous to those responsible for allocating his routes and saw nothing wrong with it.
‘That’s what I do,’ he said when we approached him at his home near Ballinasloe.
‘If you do me a favour – mechanics and everyone – we’d buy ould chocolates, stuff like that. I sent him a voucher for the G Hotel, which I’d do for every single person down there in his role all my life.’
Mr Kilkenny, who still operates a number of Bus Éireann school routes, added: ‘I’d have done it for every contract I ever had, so there’d be nothing specific to him.
‘I do it to all my contractors. I did it to CIE this year. If you do me a favour tomorrow, you’ll get a voucher this Christmas because it’s the only time of the year that we have to say, “Listen, thanks”.’
Mr Kilkenny said the G Hotel voucher would have been for dinner and accommodation.
‘They’d be the equivalent of a dinner and a room for the night – €100 to €200. We’ve never given much more than €200.
‘I never thought it was bribe. It was a thank you. I can remember them coming to me and saying, “Can you clarify this?”
‘There was nothing corrupt. You can go back further than Rory and you can keep going back.’
Mr Moylan also denied that the hotel voucher was a bribe.
‘I can tell you hand on heart that I have never and will not ever take any bribe for anything. No way. Absolutely no way would I do it. I wouldn’t entertain it,’ he said.
He said he had once been offered a ‘wedge’ of cash by a private operator but declined it. ‘I ran the man out of the office and that came up during the investigation,’ he said.
In statement, the company said: ‘Bus Éireann does not comment on individual employees or individual contractors. The company has a Code of Business Ethics for its employees – most recently updated in 2013 – that precludes the acceptance of bribes, gifts, hospitality, benefits or offers of preferential treatment, that could influence independent judgement.
‘The company recently completed a report into allegations of misconduct by a small number of Bus Éireann employees, which was requested by the Department of Transport… and the Department of Education. It concluded there was no evidence to support these allegations.’