Jobs quango blows €84k on trips to Trinidad and beyond
Published 03/10/2010 | 05:00
THE Labour Relations Commission, a quango set up to mediate disputes between employers and their staff, spent almost €84,000 of taxpayers' money, sending its top brass off on foreign junkets from tropical Trinidad & Tobago to San Francisco, Vancouver and Australia.
Kieran Mulvey, the chief executive, and two members of his team clocked up a bill of almost €22,000 on a two-week trip to Australia and Beijing at the end of September 2007 as the country was beginning to go into meltdown. The trip included a speech at the "Inter Agency" conference in Australia and meetings with Enterprise Ireland officials in Beijing, according to documents obtained by the Sunday Independent. Flights alone cost €4,700 per person or a total of €14,100 for the two-week expedition.
Last week, Mulvey, who is paid €176,934 per year, revealed the commission was "not equipped" to deal with the huge surge in cases related to redundancy and pay cuts. The commission is now facing a major backlog of cases and is seeking a digout through the creation of a triage system to filter cases before they go to the commission.
In 2008 alone, Mulvey and colleagues visited Manchester, Turin, Washington DC, Helsinki, Cape Town and New Dehli.
Some of these conferences were lengthy affairs, with Mulvey claiming €1,636 for a 10-day meeting in San Francisco.
The commission also splurged thousands on meals in some of the country's finest restaurants, including a €1,421.25 blowout dinner in Dobbins after a commission symposium in June 2008. A €600 deposit had been paid two months earlier.