Tuesday 17 July 2018

Exclusive: State-owned company spent €25k on Croke Park concert tickets and entertainment

  • EirGrid spent money on food and drinks for 18 GAA events over two-year period
  • The state owned company spent more than €5k for concert tickets for U2 and Coldplay
  • The exclusive documents reveal EirGrid also hosted a buffet for 90 people at the 2015 International Rules Series at Croke Park
Adam Clayton (right) performing with his U2 bandmates at Croke Park Photo: Steve Humphreys
Adam Clayton (right) performing with his U2 bandmates at Croke Park Photo: Steve Humphreys
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A state-owned company spent more than €25,000 on food, drink and concert tickets in Croke Park over the past two years.

Irish electricity company EirGrid spent €25,343.89 from October 4, 2015 to October 4, 2017 on “hospitality events” at their corporate suite at Croke Park.

Bono on stage in concert at Croke Park Photo: David Conachy
Bono on stage in concert at Croke Park Photo: David Conachy

The exclusive documents, seen by Independent.ie under the Freedom of Information Act 2014, show that a total of €16,023.36 was spent on food, while €4,055.53 was spent on beverages over the two-year period.

Tickets for two concerts cost the state-owned company €5,265.

A general view of the empty corporate boxes at Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
A general view of the empty corporate boxes at Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

The biggest hospitality expense was tickets and a buffet for 15 people to see U2 in concert at Croke Park on July 22, 2017. This cost the tax-payers €4,200 for the 15 guests.

The second biggest expense was the Coldplay concert on July 8, 2017, where EirGrid also paid for tickets and a buffet for 15 people at a cost of €3,300.

EirGrid confirmed that both concerts were attended by "company stakeholders". It's believed that these events were attended by stakeholders' family and friends as well as by business contacts.

EirGrid also provided food and beverages for 18 GAA games from October 4 2015 to October 4 2017.

This included the 2015 International Rules Series were EirGrid hosted a “casual buffet” and beverages for 90 people at a cost of €3,111.05.

In a statement to Independent.ie, EirGrid said:

"EirGrid is a state-owned company that operates the national grid in Ireland. Our task is to deliver a safe, secure and reliable supply of electricity – now, and in the future, to every corner of the Island of Ireland.  To do so, we work hand in hand with local communities all over the country.

"Our partnership with the GAA forms a key element of our outreach programme to communities throughout the country, many of which are directly affected by our grid development projects.

U2 fans at Croke Park. Photo: U2 / Twitter
U2 fans at Croke Park. Photo: U2 / Twitter

"EirGrid sponsors the Under 21 Football Championship and is currently supporting the International Rules series. We are not in a position to divulge the names of attendees at the corporate suite on the two occasions referenced (U2 and Coldplay concert), but can confirm that they were key company stakeholders.

"I believe there were business contacts in attendance at both concerts."

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