Wednesday 13 November 2019

U2 and Westlife tickets feature on €69,000 entertainment bill

Shane Phelan Investigative Correspondent

ALMOST €69,000 in taxpayers' money was spent by FAS on tickets for events, including GAA matches and concerts such as U2 and Westlife.

The Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) report reveals all but one of the payments, made between 2002 and 2008, was approved by former director general Rody Molloy.

Comptroller & Auditor General John Buckley found there was no evidence any of the spending was relevant to FAS business. He wrote to Mr Molloy asking him to justify the spending, but got no response.

After Mr Molloy's departure, FAS was able to recoup €33,800 from €43,100 paid out for long-term match tickets which had not yet been used, bringing the net amount spent to €35,000. The spending included:

  • €7,000 for tickets for All Ireland football and hurling finals. For each final between 2006 and 2008, 10 tickets were purchased, while between four and eight were bought for each final between 2002 and 2005.
  • €4,640 on tickets for rugby internationals between 2006 and 2008.
  • €1,960 on tickets for soccer internationals between 2007 and 2008.
  • €3,724 on concerts, including four premium tickets for U2 in 2005, tickets for Billy Joel, Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams in 2006, The Police in 2007 and Westlife and Neil Diamond in 2008.

Further hospitality bills, totalling €8,299, were run up. This included €2,255 spent at the Robbie Williams concert. Another €2,244 was spent on hospitality at All Ireland finals in 2005, €2,300 at the finals in 2006, and €1,500 at the same events in 2007. The C&AG report did not reveal who was given the use of the tickets.

Irish Independent

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