City council spent €628k on Poolbeg advisor fees
Dublin City Council spent a staggering €628,000 on consultancy fees in 2014 for the controversial Poolbeg incinerator project.
The Herald has learned the fees for the 12 months of 2014 relate to financial, legal and technical advisors. This results in an average of €52,333 per month being spent on fees.
A total of €218,000 was spent on financial advisors for work relating to the revised project agreement, review of funding and contract documents, including reports to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).
Legal advisors received €297,000 in relation to similar work and advice associated with public procurement and state aid complaints.
Technical advisors were paid €113,000 for work completed in January 2014.
A spokeswoman for DCC confirmed that the consultancy fees were funded from the council's capital cash flow.
A 2014 audit, carried out by local government auditor Richard Murphy, found that expenditure on the project last year was "mainly on consultant's costs".
Mr Murphy said that he had "concerns" regarding the project.
"In my previous audit reports I have raised concerns regarding delays in the commencement of construction work, the uncertainty surrounding the contract and a number of corporate governance issues.
"Work commenced on the site in October 2014 and the construction of the facility is expected to take three years," Mr Murphy wrote.
Councillor Christy Burke said that consultancy fees can be avoided if DCC use their own officials.
"We have enough professional staff in the council to deal with any of these issues, rather than going to outside consultants who cost the taxpayer millions," he said.
"Staff within DCC are more than capable. They are great men and women, rather than going to outside bodies.
"I will scrutinise the upcoming budget. I will be opposing any consultancy fees that's not warranted and not value for money."
Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh said that the money was being spent on an "unwanted project".
"The majority of councillors have consistently voted against the incinerator. All of that was ignored at a huge cost to the citizens.
"The cost is building up all the time and nothing to show for it. It's a huge amount of money."