Wednesday 16 October 2019

State agencies spent €33,000 for staff to see McGregor at summit

Conor McGregor and Richard Branson at the Pendulum Summit in 2018. Photo: Conor McCabe
Conor McGregor and Richard Branson at the Pendulum Summit in 2018. Photo: Conor McCabe

Gordon Deegan

The State’s top finance agencies paid a total of €33,050 for 81 staff to see the likes of Richard Branson and Conor McGregor appear at a business summit last year.

New figures show that the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), the National Asset Management Agency (Nama), the Central Bank and the Revenue Commissioners shelled out the money for staff to attend the two-day Pendulum Summit in in Dublin in January 2018.

In a written Dáil reply, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed to Labour TD Joan Burton that the NTMA last year paid €17,200 to allow 43 staff members to attend the summit.

Mr Donohoe further stated the Central Bank paid €12,000 for 30 staff to attend, while Nama paid €2,800 for seven staff to attend with the Revenue Commissioners paying €1,050 for one staff member to attend.

A spokesman for Nama confirmed yesterday that eight of its staff members attended the 2019 event staged in January at a cost of €3,400.

Separately, a spokesman for the NTMA confirmed that this year the agency purchased a total of 15 tickets at a cost of €12,750 to attend, which provided the possibility of 30 attendees across the two-day event with each participant attending one day.   

The 21 tickets purchased by the NTMA in 2018 allowed double that number to attend one day each.

“The NTMA actively encourages the professional development of its staff, including by providing the opportunity to attend relevant external events, particularly events independently accredited for continuing professional development purposes,” it said.

This year, 3,000 attended the two-day event and it emerged earlier this month that the Pendulum Summit paid Brexiteer Boris Johnson €58,230 to speak at the event.

Ceo of the Pendulum Summit Frankie Sheahan said State agencies here “could be investing so much more in this event on their doorstep. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world”.

He said: “The fees are a great investment for any company.”

Irish Independent

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