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Temple Bar trust scrapped after scandals

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 Mannix Flynn has called for an inquiry. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mannix Flynn has called for an inquiry. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mannix Flynn has called for an inquiry. Photo: Steve Humphreys

THE scandal-hit Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) has been scrapped in the wake of a series of highly damaging controversies since 2011.

Dublin City Council yesterday confirmed that the taxpayer-owned body has been wound down, with its functions and multi-million euro property portfolio set to be to taken over by the local authority.

The winding-down process was accelerated by new City Manager Owen Keegan, who last month invited board members to resign.

The trust has been embroiled in a number of controversies and was last year forced to alert gardai to suspected financial irregularities.

Senior managers at Dublin City Council suspect that unlawful loans were paid out to staff without the knowledge of the board.

The loans are understood to have been granted in the form of salary top ups and constituted thousands of euro in some instances.

It is also believed that there was serious abuse of company credit cards and that personal expenses were charged to the company.

In the summer of 2012, details emerged of an external audit report that found the trust was making late payments on its VAT returns and even allowed a non-management employee to have access to its bank accounts.

ISSUES

The scrapping of the quango was overshadowed last night after a director called for an independent inquiry into the recent controversies.

Dublin councillor Mannix Flynn told the Herald that there are many issues that have not been dealt with. "The public have a right to know how one of its valuable assets was mismanaged with enormous cost to the public purse," he said.

"This independent inquiry examination would give confidence to the public with regard to the future cultural and commercial oversight of the Temple Bar area."

In a statement issued last night, Dublin City Council said that a new project team under the leadershio of Assistant City Manager Brendan Kenny will take control of the trust's day-to-day functions.

NOCONNOR@HERALD.IE


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