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City council's €80k outlay on chocolate, sweets and biscuits


Coffee time

Coffee time

Coffee time

DUBLIN City Council spent more than €80,000 on chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits, the Herald can reveal.

The outlay was part of what has been described as "grandiose spending" of €3.5m on food and drink over the past five years.

The cash was forked out for, among other things, refreshments for official meetings, meals for staff on training courses and special events for members of the public.

Details of the spending, which comes in at more than €1,900 a day, were released under Freedom of Information laws.

The Herald has learned that:

l More than €236,000 was spent on coffee, tea, milk and sugar.

l €96,600 went on water, €43,500 of it on the Ballygowan brand.

l Almost €55,900 was spent on chocolate bars, €7,800 on sweets and more than €16,700 on biscuits.

l €18,500 was spent on sandwiches.

Around €17,000 of the spending on chocolate and sweets was not explained in the council's response to the Herald's questions.

Cooking classes, Easter and summer camps, Halloween and Christmas parties for children and older adults and community meetings accounted for 76pc of the chocolate expenditure and 52pc of the sweets.

More than €2.5m worth of expenditure was labelled as "catering" in the five years between 2010 and 2014 inclusive, while €438,506 was listed as "provision of food".

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn expressed his concern at what he called "grandiose spending", saying that "the money could be put to much better use".

He highlighted the cost of big council events such as the annual IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and said "serious consideration" should be given to securing sponsorship to cater for big celebrations such as that.

"Just think of the amount of people who could be housed with that money. All we are doing is feeding the fed," he said.

Mr Flynn added that he did not disagree with council staff receiving refreshments, but said value for money must be addressed.

"The budget for this year's IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is €180,250, of which €80,250 is budgeted for administration and events and €100,000 for the prize money," said a council spokesman.

"As with all our expenditure, we always aim to get the best value for money possible when organising events relating to the literary award."

Much of the tea and coffee spending was for city council area offices, libraries, sports centres and community centres.

A sum of just over €32,000 for "provision of tea and coffee" went to caterers and coffee shops that were used for "meetings, training and workshops".

"Canteen services" ran to €90,030, with 71pc of that incurred by the council's canteen in the Ballymun Regeneration Centre.