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Temple Bar Trust chief is suspended in pay-offs row

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5/5/06
 Dermot McLaughlin, CEO, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, pictured in Temple Bar, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

5/5/06 Dermot McLaughlin, CEO, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, pictured in Temple Bar, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

5/5/06 Dermot McLaughlin, CEO, Temple Bar Cultural Trust, pictured in Temple Bar, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins

THE boss at the troubled Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) has been suspended after he allegedly offered staff redundancy packages without the consent of the board.

A major investigation has been launched into claims that Dermot McLaughlin made a number of "unauthorised" offers to employees at the embattled company.

At an emergency board meeting on Sunday, officials agreed to suspend Mr McLaughlin on full pay.

The offers of redundancy packages are understood to have been made on Friday – with three staff members receiving proposals from Mr McLaughlin.

An informed source at the company told the Herald that the offers were "totally unauthorised".

"What is believed to have happened here is alarming. The individual at the centre of this has now been suspended," the source explained.

Mr McLaughlin returned to Temple Bar this month after quitting a major cultural position in Northern Ireland.

As revealed by the Herald, he was at the centre of a damning city council audit which uncovered serious mis-spending under his watch as CEO in 2011.

He left the trust in November to take up a temporary position as the head of the Derry City of Culture programme.

 

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However, after the audit's findings into the Temple Bar Cultural Trust were revealed by the Herald, Mr McLaughlin resigned citing "personal reasons".

Mr McLaughlin himself was found to have charged the company for a €907 "personal" legal bill in 2011 – which he did not pay back until the following year. He also received a salary advance for himself of €5,857 – in order to tide him over "until the next pay day". And the audit found he sanctioned three significant pay increases without board knowledge or approval.

Mr McLaughlin returned to his old position as CEO of the trust this month.

But after the board became aware of the allegations surrounding the redundancy offers, it formally suspended Mr McLaughlin.

The TBCT board is currently in the process of winding down the firm with its responsibilities – whose role is to promote cultural initiatives in the area – expected to be subsumed by Dublin City Council.

Last month, city councillor Mannix Flynn resigned from the board following the publication of the audit report.

Cllr Flynn said: "This company is a disgrace and a total wreck. It has bled the taxpayer and the people of Dublin dry and is nothing short of a toxin in Temple Bar. The public are entitled to know the full scale of the sheer lack of corporate governance at TBCT."

Mr McLaughlin did not respond to the Herald.

noconnor@herald.ie


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