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Council to pull plug on Temple Bar trust after audit

DUBLIN City Council is expected to take over responsibility for the promotion of Temple Bar after a controversial trust running the area for more than 30 years ends.

The embattled Temple Bar Cultural Trust ( TBCT ) is being wound down in the wake of highly critical reports about its finances.

The move, announced yesterday, follows a report commissioned by trust owner Dublin City Council, which concluded the move would save the council €800,000 a year.

A separate audit, also commissioned by the council, found a litany of unacceptable issues relating to the use of company credit cards, expenses, and salaries.

The trust, set up in 1991, is charged with promoting events in the cultural area and managed a mix of 28 commercial, residential and retail premises. The premises were valued at €9.4m at the end of 2010.

The audit branded internal controls "unsatisfactory" and said the number and extent of weaknesses and regulatory violations represented "unacceptable exposure and risk".

One employee had used a trust credit card to pay their second-home property tax.

The money was later repaid to the company through salary deduction.

Auditors examining corporate governance at TBCT found that no authorisation was given for some spending on items such as travel, entertainment, conferences, subscriptions and professional fees.

And there were no receipts for the vast majority of the €49,000 spent on credit cards in 2011 which should have detailed what was bought.

The board said it had put in place financial procedures to address most of the issues, and indicated that 92pc of the report's recommendations were being "accepted and addressed".

Unique

In a statement yesterday the TBCT board acknowledged the achievements of the trust "but the time has come for reinvigoration of what was the cultural remit of TBCT".

The board statement added the council should consider how best to develop Temple Bar's unique identity.

The TBCT trust chief executive Dermot McLaughlin, on secondment as Derry City of Culture 2013 project director for the year, has not been available for comment.

The Temple Bar Cultural Trust has a total of 16 employees.

They earned a total of €897,730 a year, with salaries ranging from €42,000 to €103,730 for chief executive Dermot McLaughlin.

Irish Independent