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Over €7m spent on consultants since government took office

Figures disclosed in parliamentary questions last week reveal the expenditure on consultancy services by the government since last year.

Cabinet ministers receiving their seals of office last year
Cabinet ministers receiving their seals of office last year
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

OVER €7 MILLION has been spent by government departments on outside consultancy services since the coalition took office last year, according to figures disclosed last week.

In answers to parliamentary questions submitted by the South Kerry TD Tom Fleming last week, Ministers disclosed the amount spent on consultancy services since taking office last year. The Irish Times reports the figures this morning.

Over €1 million each was spent by the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Health and Social Protection while over €130,000 was spent by the Department of Environment on consultancy which recommended the establishment of a new and separate water authority.

The government then opted for Bord Gáis to run the new water authority, Irish Water, instead. In total the Department of Environment spent over €400,000 on consultancy services.

The figures showed that the Department of Social Protection spent more than €650,000 on outside IT consultants as part of expenditure of around €1.3 million.

At the Department of Foreign Affiars, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore disclosed spending of €1,347,880 which he said was largely spent on consultancy services for Irish Aid.

He said: “Given the overall scale, range and diversity of the Irish Aid programme, as well as the firm commitment to the highest quality, accountability and evaluation, it is necessary to complement the in-house capacity with specialised skills and advice.”

Free consultancy

The Department of Health spent over €1 million on consultancy services last year and to date this year has spent over €263,000 on consultancy services this year.  The Department of Jobs spent over €515,000.

The Department of Education spent just under €300,000 on consultancy services last year, saying that in the first quarter of this year it has not spent any money on the awarding contracts to consultancy firms.

At the Department of Finance, over €260,000 was spent last year on consultancy services while Finance Minister Michael Noonan said his department has an ongoing contract with Arthur Cox for the provision of banking related consultancy services.

It also has a contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers which commenced last year, is provided for free and concerns “analysing data from the covered institutions in relation to redundancy matters.”

At the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the services of the likes of Deloitte & Touche, Red C, Ernst & Young and Grant Thornton have been engaged since June of last year, Minister Brendan Howlin said. The total cost for that comes to  nearly €580,000.

The Department of Transport has spent almost €700,000 and included nearly €130,000 spent on the Booz report on the future of Cork and Shannon Airports.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte could not provide figures for spending on consultancy from his Department saying that “in the time available, it has not been possible to identify and assemble the information requested.”

Rabbitte did pledge to assemble the information and revert back.

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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