Wednesday 23 October 2019

Dublin Port commissions review as it defends credit card spending by executives

Board meeting: Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO Dublin Port Company. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Board meeting: Eamonn O’Reilly, CEO Dublin Port Company. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Dublin Port has again defended spending by its executives after confirming that it has hired accountancy firm Mazars to undertake a review of its credit card spending.

The semi-State company behind the port has been at the eye of a storm for the past week after the 'Sunday Independent' revealed details of credit card spending by its top brass.

The company has already hired an investigator to probe the leak of the spending details. Yesterday, it described that leak as "malicious" and said that it was "designed to create an incorrect and damaging perception of inappropriate spend by the company".

It now expects Mazars to report back within weeks with its review of those credit card transactions.

Dublin Port, whose CEO is Eamonn O'Reilly, said that following a board meeting last week, "no malpractice was identified in any of the reported material".

"All expenditure was on company business and in line with the masterplan strategy of working with our stakeholders, including local communities, to deliver the growth the company needs over the next 10 years as it invests €1bn in capital development to meet Ireland's import and export needs by 2040," it added.

Details of the credit card spending revealed by the 'Sunday Independent' showed that the company's executives spent tens of thousands of euro on flights and staff entertainment during 2018.

Almost €270,000 of the €522,000 in credit card expenses during the year were spent by Mr O'Reilly and three of his senior managers.

More than €200,000 was spent by the port last year commissioning a song from musician Philip King for the launch of a so-called Brexit-Buster ferry, the MV Celine.

The 'Sunday Independent' also pointed out that the €200,000 spend had covered related costs, such as the staging of the event.

International travel by the port's executives last year included destinations such as Vancouver, Quebec, San Francisco and Chicago.

Dublin Port said last night that 2018 involved a "peak workload" in terms of its development and that "overseas contacts, meetings and perspectives were vital to that work and yielded real benefits for the port's strategic plans".

"Notwithstanding this, the board has decided to initiate an external review of credit card expenditure and hospitality to confirm and verify that all the spend was both appropriate and properly authorised," it said yesterday.

"This review will be undertaken by Mazars as a matter of urgency and is expected to be completed over the coming weeks.

"The board has undertaken to report back to the minister at the earliest possible opportunity," it said, adding it will act upon any recommendations in the review.

Irish Independent

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