Monday 22 December 2014

Scandal-hit Temple Bar trust is axed

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 04/03/2014 | 02:30

Cllr Mannix Flynn has urged a deeper inquiry into the Temple Bar Cultural Trust
Cllr Mannix Flynn has urged a deeper inquiry into the Temple Bar Cultural Trust

THE Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) has been scrapped in the wake of a series of highly damaging controversies since 2011.

Dublin City Council officials yesterday confirmed the taxpayer-owned body has been wound down, with its functions and multi-million euro property portfolio to be to taken over by the council.

The wind-down process was accelerated by City Manager Owen Keegan who last month asked board members to resign.

The scandal-hit trust was last year forced to alert gardai of suspected financial irregularities. Senior managers at Dublin City Council suspect that unlawful loans were paid to staff without the knowledge of the board.

The loans are understood to have been granted in the form of 'salary top-ups', sometimes worth thousands of euro.

It is also believed that there was serious abuse of company credit cards and personal expenses were charged to the company.

In the summer of 2012, details emerged of an external audit report which found that the trust was making late payments on its VAT returns and even allowed a non-management employee to have access to its bank accounts.

The body was also found to be slow in collecting hundreds of thousands of euro owed to it.

The scrapping of the quango was overshadowed last night after a director called for an independent inquiry into the recent controversies.

SECRECY

Dublin City councillor Mannix Flynn told the Irish Independent there was a raft of issues that had not been dealt with, adding that the trust was still shrouded in secrecy.

"The public have a right to know how one of its valuable assets was mismanaged, with enormous cost to the public purse."

In a statement last night, Dublin City Council said a new project team led by Assistant City Manager Brendan Kenny would now take control of the trust's functions.

Irish Independent

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