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Scandal-hit Temple Bar Trust begins leaks probe

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6 October 2008; Turlough O'Sullivan, IBEC Director General at its pre budget briefing. Picture credit; Damien Eagers...ABC

6 October 2008; Turlough O'Sullivan, IBEC Director General at its pre budget briefing. Picture credit; Damien Eagers...ABC

6 October 2008; Turlough O'Sullivan, IBEC Director General at its pre budget briefing. Picture credit; Damien Eagers...ABC

THE scandal-hit Temple Bar Cultural Trust has hired a top lobbyist to identify who is behind media leaks.

And the city council has refused to say how much taxpayers' money it is paying the former head of IBEC, Turlough O'Sullivan, to establish who provided this newspaper and other media with information.

The council said Mr O'Sullivan's appointment represents value for money.

It had previously been claimed that the former IBEC boss was being hired to review a critical audit report that uncovered widespread misspending of taxpayers' money.

However company documents reveal that the investigation is also focusing on alleged media leaks.

Mr O'Sullivan has requested meetings with a number of officials about leaks.

He will then advise the board whether there are grounds to initiate disciplinary action.

The Herald revealed last month that the trust's CEO, Dermot McLaughlin, has been suspended on full pay for allegedly offering unauthorised redundancy packages.

Mr McLaughlin, who is paid €104,000 a year, was at the centre of a damning city council audit exposing financial mismanagement and misspending on his watch in 2011.

Mr McLaughlin himself was found to have charged the company for a €907 personal legal bill which he did not pay back until the following year.

He also received an advance of €5,857 to tide him over "until the next pay day".

The news that Turlough O'Sullivan has been drafted in to probe alleged media links was questioned last night by a government politician.

Fine Gael's Eoghan Murphy said that the board's focus should be on winding down the organisation.

"Investigating leaks can be important, but in this instance it is very much a secondary issue," he said.

A spokesperson for the city council said: "Turlough O'Sullivan's role shall be to advise the board whether, in his opinion, any measures are required in addressing any concerns arising from his investigation."

noconnor@herald.ie


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