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Saturday 20 July 2019

Dublin Port chief's €95k company credit card bill

Dublin Port chief Eamonn O'Reilly
Dublin Port chief Eamonn O'Reilly

A government TD has called on Dublin Port officials to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after it emerged that its chief executive spent almost €95,000 on his company credit card last year.

The spending by Eamonn O’Reilly included a €5,500 airfare for Lord Mayor Nial Ring to fly to Chicago.

Four executives at the port company – including Mr O’Reilly – spent close to €270,000 between them in 2018 on their company credit cards.

The money went on anything from iTunes subscriptions and dishwasher repairs to regular foreign travel and business and staff entertainment, according to figures obtained by the Sunday Independent.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock, who sits on the PAC, has now called for the company to appear before the Oireachtas committee over the spending.

“These revelations are extraordinary, and a hallmark of a bygone era where accountability didn’t exist,” he said.

“This cannot continue. Answers are needed, and it’s clear that they should come before the Oireachtas as soon as possible.”

Mr O’Reilly spent almost €95,000 on his credit card on flights, hotels and other expenses in 2018, it was reported.

Figures also show the State-owned company spent more than €200,000 commissioning a song from musician Philip King for the launch of the Luxembourg-owned “Brexit Buster” ferry, the MV Celine.

The semi-state operation, which runs the country’s biggest shipping port on behalf of the State, also spent just under €7m on a maritime garden for its HQ on Dublin’s East Wall Road, and a number of other key developments.

Mr O’Reilly – who has a pay and pension package worth €359,000 – spent a total of more than €90,000 in expenses on his credit card during 2018, much of it on foreign travel for himself and his management team.

Dublin Port Company confirmed that in 2018, there were 22 credit cards in issue among its 160 staff.

“The total spend on credit cards in 2018 was €522,000 or 1.2pc of a total operating cost base of €43.6m,” the company said as part of a response to detailed questions from the Sunday Independent.

Pubs

Close to €270,000 of those credit card expenses were spent by chief executive Mr O’Reilly and three of his senior managers.

The company’s communications manager, Charlie Murphy, used his port credit card to spend more than €30,000 in a variety of Dublin pubs and restaurants such as The Long Hall, The Stag’s Head and Matt the Thresher.

Contacted with a series of detailed questions, Dublin Port Company said that its “internal auditor reviews expenditure including on credit cards and reports directly to the Audit and Risk Committee of the board”.

“No concerns have been raised about any expenditure,” it added.

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