Spending Money Like Water



[Former Dublin City Manager John Tierney, now head of Irish Water and Poolbeg incinerator plans]

This morning, Environment Editor of the Irish Times Frank McDonald reports on a local government audit into the money spent by Dublin City Council to relocate a firm in Dublin Port, to allow for the building of the Poolbeg incinerator.

Mr McDonald reports that Dublin City Council paid almost €22million to relocate cargo handlers firm, Westway Terminals Hibernian Ltd.The council was obliged to help Westway and pay for their new premises.

However, Mr McDonald reports that Dublin City Council paid nearly twice the original contract of €11.9million.

In total, the relocation of Westway cost €31million.

Meanwhile, he also reports that the audit looked at the contract between Dublin City Council and RPS, a contract which the European Commission subsequently found was in breach EU rules late last year and will be terminated on January 31.

Mr McDonald reported the local government auditor found financial management was weak while there were concerns raised about the lack of minutes recorded.

He reported:

“The auditor concluded: ‘it is evident that the financial management . . . has been weak’ and said ‘no proper classification of expenditure on an invoice basis was available to account for monies spent’ on Poolbeg by council management.

“’There is no evidence of monitoring of detailed budgets or financial forecasts . . . or that detailed monthly/quarterly reports were examined to control expenditure, apart from client representative summary reports presented to DCC management.’

He said the project executive board – headed by former assistant city manager Matt Twomey – “did not meet on a formal basis and therefore no minutes of meetings were retained”.

Meanwhile, on Prime Time last night, Fintan O’Toole also spoke about the RPS contract with Dublin City Council and the same audit referred to above, in light of the fact that the CEO of Irish Water John Tierney was hired just weeks after the audit was issued.

“John Tierney was the accounting officer, he was the person for whom the buck stopped in relation to that. So it would be very interesting to know was John Tierney asked, at his interview, about his record? Was he asked what he had learned about the hiring of consultants, was he asked what he had learned about major infrastructural projects and how they should be manager in the public interest? I suspect he probably wasn’t.

Watch the full episode here

Previously: Incinerating Poolbeg

(Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

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