Thursday 14 December 2017

Martin's reports a 'shocking waste'

Chief Reporter

THE Department of Foreign Affairs under former minister Micheal Martin commissioned over 70 external reports, at a "shocking waste" of €2.3m to the taxpayer, it has emerged.

According to information released by the department in a parliamentary question, between 2008 and the fall of the last government in February, taxpayers' money was spent on a host of reports. These included reports on why the first Lisbon Treaty was lost to evaluation reports of the education strategies in Africa.

Taxpayers' money to the sum of €138,000 was paid to Millward Browne to carry out research into why the first Lisbon Treaty was lost, while a further €11,800 was spent on a report examining "attitudes and behaviour" of voters in the Lisbon referendum.

Elsewhere, Terry Prone's Communications Clinic was paid €48,000 to prepare an action plan "to direct spending under the Communicating Europe Initiative 2009".

The vast majority of the reports commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs were concerned with the use of Irish money overseas.

The department spent €130,000 evaluating "Ireland's Timor Leste strategy" in 2008, while €91,000 was spent on evaluating Irish involvement in Mozambique.

Mr Martin, the current Fianna Fail leader, has been heavily criticised by Fine Gael TD Derek Keating, who said it is "unforgiveable" for such money to be spent during the worst economic crisis in history.

"Deputy Martin is well known as a man who seeks reports. However, this is tax payers' money -- it's a shocking waste of public money.

"And all of this was happening at a time when our country was sinking into crisis, when there was no management of our economy and government ministers led by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, were spending money as if we had too much of it," Mr Keating said.

In response, a spokesman for Mr Martin said that the vast majority of the reports were to do with Ireland's international aid commitments and asked "does Mr Keating advocate pulling out of that?"

Sunday Independent

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