Friday 23 February 2018

'Outside consultants' paid €152m for advice since economic crash

The Central Bank (pictured), NAMA, Dept of Finance and National Pension Reserve Fund paid for advice
The Central Bank (pictured), NAMA, Dept of Finance and National Pension Reserve Fund paid for advice
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Outside consultants have been paid €152m by the Central Bank, National Treasury Management Agency, Department of Finance and the National Pension Reserve Fund for advice since the economic crash.

Four firm accounted for 60pc of the expenditure – Arthur Cox (€33.1m), Blackrock Financial Management (€23.5mm), Ernst and Young (€20.9m) and KPMG (€13.2m).

The figures were disclosed in the annual report of the State spending watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General.

The cash was paid to the consultancy firms between 2008 and 2014.

In a wide ranging report, C&AG Seamus McCarthy dealt with several matters, including the number of households signing up as customers of Irish Water.

Mr McCarthy found that as of August 31, just 1,099,545 had registered with the utility company, while 422,455 had not.

His report outlined how Irish Water will have borrowings totalling more than €650m before the end of this year.

The company has already borrowed €300m from the State’s new investment fund, with another €150m due to be drawn down this year.

Mr McCarthy criticised for the manner in which the Eircode postcode regime was developed  by the Government.

He highlighted EU concerns with the qualifying criteria for tenderers, which excluded companied which didn’t have a turnover above €40m.

He was also critical of “a pattern of non-competitive tenders” for consultants paid to help with the project.

The C&AG found the cost of setting up the post code were under estimated.

The HSE was owed €290m by health insurers for private patient income at the end of last year, the report said.

HSE-run hospitals also had to write of €4.6 million worth of private patient charges last year.

Elsewhere in the report, the C&AG outlines how over €500,000 worth of historical artefacts were stolen from a Stately home.

Some 39 items, including 26 paintings, were found to have been taken from Killarney House and gardai were called in to investigate.

An audit of items held in private storage was undertaken after two paintings turned up at an auction.

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