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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Former CEO's claims at odds with FOI records

Paul Maloney
Paul Maloney

Shane Phelan Public Affairs Editor

THE former chief executive of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority told the Dail's Public Accounts Committee that he didn't have a company credit card when he was in charge of the semi-state agency.

The claim is directly at odds with credit card information released by the DDDA under the Freedom of Information Act.

Those records stated that not only was there a Bank of Ireland credit card in the name of Paul Maloney, pictured, with a €40,000 limit during his time as chief executive, from July 2005 to August 2009, but over €109,000 was spent on it.

The records, which were released to the Irish Independent, showed the credit card issued in Mr Maloney's name was used to pay for over €28,000 in flights, €19,500 on foreign hotels, €6,300 on domestic hotels, €7,600 on foreign restaurants and €13,500 on restaurants in Ireland.

In total, five credit cards used by executives at the DDDA between August 2004 and October 2009 racked up costs of €518,000.

Some €210,000 was spent on flights, €116,000 on hotel bills and €82,700 in foreign and domestic restaurants across the five credit cards.

The DDDA paid for several unexplained expenses, including a flight to Paris for the Rugby World Cup, large quantities of wine purchased for some board meetings, golf outings, and €870 spent at jewellers Weir & Sons.

PAC chairman John McGuinness also quizzed Mr Maloney about expensive trips taken by board members to Russia and Finland, as well as spending on fine wine and caviar.

Mr McGuinness said the records gave "the impression that there was a very lavish spend on all sorts of activities, including travel to various locations around the world to determine what best possible site could they model this development on".

"I have never seen credit card expenses related to me or the board. I didn't have one," Mr Maloney said.

Mr McGuinness pointed out that the information was in the public domain, having been released under FOI legislation by the DDDA.

Mr Maloney said he was shocked to hear about the spending.

"All I can think of is that this predates me because I never sanctioned a trip to Russia or to the World Cup. . . it never happened on my watch."

However, Mr McGuinness pointed out that some of the spending did take place when he was chief executive, citing the Rugby World Cup flight as an example.

Mr Maloney did admit to going on a trip with the DDDA board to San Sebastian in northern Spain to see the docklands development there.

Irish Independent

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