Tuesday 16 July 2019

Dublin Port starts probe into company 'leaks' after revelations on spending

Costs: Dublin Port headquarters and the surrounding gardens. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Costs: Dublin Port headquarters and the surrounding gardens. Photo: Gerry Mooney
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin Port has started a probe into an alleged data breach after the 'Sunday Independent' revealed details of spending by the company.

It said it wants to "establish the motive behind the selective leaking of commercial information", which it said "appears designed to create an incorrect and damaging perception of inappropriate spend by the company".

"The company has launched an immediate investigation into the source of the data leak to establish how it occurred and by whom it was carried out," it said.

"External expert investigators are being appointed to carry out a forensic analysis to determine how this occurred and who is responsible."

The alleged breach has also been reported to the Data Protection Commissioner, it said.

The 'Sunday Independent' reported the port company had spent almost €7m on revamping the port facilities to open it up more to the inner city and develop a garden.

More than €200,000 was spent commissioning a song from musician Philip King for the launch of a so-called Brexit-buster ferry, the MV Celine. The newspaper also pointed out that the €200,000 spend had covered related costs, such as the staging of the event.

Public Accounts Committee chairman Seán Fleming is among those calling for further investigation into the levels of spending.

Dublin Port insisted again that its spending is all above board and closely monitored and scrutinised by its internal auditor.

The semi-state company stressed that there has been no wrongdoing in relation to any of its expenditure on company credit cards.

It said the garden that was constructed was "is in fact a substantial capital project involving a complete overhaul of the entire public realm at Port Centre and access" - something that had been reported by the 'Sunday Independent'.

The port company added: "This was in keeping with the company's masterplan objective of greater port-city integration, softening the boundary of the port's interface with the city and the first refurbishment work to be carried out at Port Centre in 35 years. The capital expenditure on the project of €6.97m was fully reported to the board and approved."

Dublin Port also stressed again that the €205,000 paid in relation to the launch of the MV Celine last year covered the cost of new music commissioned from Mr King, the staging and rigging for the event, full production, AV and payment to the participating artists and musicians, including Lisa Hannigan, Damien Dempsey, John Sheahan and Colm Mac Con Iomaire.

"The company makes decisions to invest in cultural projects and client events that support its business objectives," it said.

"In this regard, Dublin Port Company chose to run a major event to mark the occasion, which included the commissioning of new music heard by an international audience of some 300 guests."

The guests included Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Dublin Port added: "Credit cards are used as an administratively efficient means of payment with strong audit control.

"All credit card expenditure is in line with the company's policy - only for business purposes, properly recorded, receipted and authorised."

The semi-state company said again that all expenditure, including that on credit cards, is subject to review by its internal auditor and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Irish Independent

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