Saturday 24 August 2019

Chief executive's €95,000 credit card bill out of €522,000 company total

Expenses: Dublin Port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly. Photo: Colin O'Riordan
Expenses: Dublin Port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

Fearghal O'Connor

Spending at Dublin Port is in the spotlight after the 'Sunday Independent' revealed how chief executive Eamonn O'Reilly spent almost €95,000 on his credit card on flights, hotels and other expenses in 2018.

Mr O'Reilly's expenses included a €5,500 air fare for Dublin Mayor Nial Ring to fly to Chicago.

Four executives at the port company - including Mr O'Reilly - spent close to €270,000 between them in 2018 on their company credit cards, on everything from iTunes subscriptions and dishwasher repairs, to foreign travel. The total spend among staff on credit cards was €522,000 in one year.

The 'Sunday Independent' also revealed the State-owned company spent more than €200,000 commissioning a song from musician Philip King for the launch of the Luxembourg-owned 'Brexit Buster' ferry the MV Celine.

The port paid Mr King's company South Wind Blows a total of €205,000, excluding Vat, for the commissioning, staging and performance of the music piece 'Celine'.

The semi-state company, which runs the country's biggest shipping port on behalf of the State, also spent just under €7m on a maritime garden and other developments in its port-city integration project.

This project included new pedestrian entry points, dramatic new steel entrance gates, a refurbished podium, new sculptures, a maritime garden and seating. It also included a new footbridge and relocated car parking facilities to the rear of the site and the installation of a refurbished crane from the 1960s to act as a new landmark.

Each month in 2017 the company paid out as much as €700,000 to construction firm Wills Bros, as well as landscapers and electricians. By the time the port company had paid two final bills of €500,000 and €335,000 in late 2018, the cost was €6.97m.

Dublin Port Company confirmed that in 2018, there were 22 credit cards in issue among its 160 staff.

"The total spend on credit cards in 2018 was €522,000, or 1.2pc of a total operating cost base of €43.6m," the company said.

In a statement, Dublin Port Company said it is well managed, profitable and has a turnover of €90.4m, which has grown by 28pc in the past 10 years. Its total operating cost base is €43.6m.

"Dublin Port Company's internal auditor reviews expenditure including on credit cards and reports directly to the Audit and Risk Committee of the board. No concerns have been raised about any expenditure."

It also says the port's 'Masterplan' also contains a clear commitment to greater port-city integration in support of business growth and development, including the project at Port Centre.

"The capital expenditure on the project of €6.97m was fully reported to the board and approved."

It added that all such expenditure is subject to competitive tendering.

Irish Independent

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