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Central Bank spent over €150,000 on parties as financial crisis hit

The figures show that bank officials “ran away with themselves” at a crucial time, Labour TD Kevin Humphreys said.

Central Bank headquarters on Dame Street, Dublin
Central Bank headquarters on Dame Street, Dublin
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE CENTRAL BANK spent more than €150,000 on staff parties during the year when the financial crisis hit Ireland, new figures have revealed.

The bank paid out €155,000 on entertainment functions and other special events during 2008 – the year of the controversial bank guarantee and the Lehman Brothers collapse. This figure was more than seven times the amount spent in 2007, when the entertainment budget was just €20,000.

The figures were revealed by finance minister Michael Noonan in answer to a parliamentary question from Labour’s Kevin Humphreys, who told this afternoon that the expenditure showed Central Bank officials had “run away with themselves”.

I thought it was quite a surprising figure to be spent, especially when you consider what else was going on around that time. I don’t consider it appropriate. Some of the worst financial decisions were made around that period and we’ll be living  with their effects for a long time. Obviously they [the Central Bank] ran away with themselves.

He also called for an official investigation of the financial agencies that were operating in Ireland around the time of the crisis.

According to the Irish Independent, some €115,000 of the entertainment budget was spent on a single party in April 2008, to mark the fifth anniversary of the founding of the Financial Regulator.

Figures provided by the Central Bank also show that the institution’s spending on taxis has more than double since 2007, with bills amounting to €45,000 so far this year alone. However, Minister Noonan suggested that this was related to an increase in the number of staff and new premises around Dublin at Spencer Dock and Harcourt Street.

Read more: Foreign deposits on the increase amid ‘good news’ for Irish banks>

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Michael Freeman

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