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Taxpayer foots bill of €120,000 for meals

The food

IT's not just an army that marches on its stomach.

The taxpayer has spent more than €120,000 feeding and watering tribunal judges and lawyers who were paid millions of euro for their work at the long-running Mahon Tribunal.

And a breakdown of the amounts spent on food and drinks shows legal eagles weren't shy about getting the taxpayer to pay.

Judges favoured the restaurant at Avoca Handweavers on Dublin's Suffolk Street, racking up bills there totalling €11,610 between 2003 and 2008.

The tribunal's legal team frequented sandwich bars, bistros and pastry shops over a 10-year period, leaving the taxpayer with a bill of more than €37,000.

The barristers billed the State for their lunches despite junior counsel earning at least €1,100 a day -- and seniors €1,700.

And when they returned to Dublin Castle, they could enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at our expense -- €23,282 has been spent on beverages and another €57,746 on water since the inquiry was established in 1997.

But the expensive lunches came to an end in 2008 -- the same year the tribunal invested in two microwaves at a cost of €170, and a couple of toasters, which cost €62.70.

Irish Independent