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Friday 19 July 2019

Dublin Port launches probe into 'data breach' after company credit card spending revealed

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

John Mulligan

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

And the semi-State company has insisted again this afternoon there has been no wrongdoing in relation to any of its expenditure on company credit cards.

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 that almost €7m had been spent on a garden at the Dublin Port headquarters, and that more than €200,000 was spent for the commissioning and staging of 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 and performance of the event.

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

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 by Philip 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 MacCon 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 company’s policy includes authorisation processes by senior management for each credit card, including the chief executive’s card which is approved by the chairperson."

The semi-State company said again this afternoon that all expenditure, including that on credit cards, is subject to review by its internal auditor.

"This expenditure is reviewed on an ongoing basis and formally reported annually as part of the internal control review," it said.

"The internal auditor also undertakes separate review projects by agreement with the audit and risk committee. No concerns have been raised about any expenditure."

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