Thursday 21 September 2017

More waste pops up in form of a €760 toaster

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan presented Ireland with a bailout stew made by the European Commission, the IMF and the ECB last night.

But Mr Lenihan could have given IMF team leader Ajai Chopra a loan of his department's €913 melting pot to bring the bailout to the boil over the past few days.

Details of Department of Finance spending since 2008 yesterday revealed €913 went on a 'bain-marie' pot, usually used to make hollandaise and other sauces.

A spokesman for Mr Lenihan said it was likely the pot was for the department's canteen.

And while the economy was quickly becoming toast, mandarins in the department spent €762.30 on a Fortius conveyor-model industrial toaster. The spokesman said it was likely the toaster had also been bought for the canteen.

Fine Gael last night said the toaster and other items were "another example of the wasteful expenditure which is at the core of this Fianna Fail administration".

"It's clear that the Department of Finance didn't go to Power City to get this equipment," Brian Hayes, public expenditure spokesman, said.

Difficulty

"It will have difficulty lecturing other government departments and the people about accountability when it has been involved in an orgy of spending within its own offices."

Almost €800 went on a new chair-cum-couch for Mr Lenihan's office this year, and his spokesman said it was bought because of the increase in the minister's workload.

"The minister was spending more time in the office," the spokesman said.

Renowned historian Diarmaid Ferriter was paid €1,500 for an essay to be used on a government website, and another €1,500 was paid to other experts for more essays on symbols and genealogy, also for the government website.

There was also substantial spending on PR and photography, with €4,500 going on Budget day photos and €1,640 for photos and prints as part of the Commission on Taxation report. Another €786 went on a "pop-up stand" for departmental announcements.

A total of 42 subscriptions for 'The Economist' magazine were also bought at a cost of €7,050, which works out as one issue of the magazine for every 15 staff members.

And despite the department's city centre location, straddling Merrion Street and Merrion Row, €65,000 was spent on taxis. A further €1,700 went on cycling equipment for two civil servants.

Irish Independent

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