€7.1m spent by Ministers on consultants since taking office
GOVERNMENT MINISTERS have spent at least €7.1 million on outside consultancy services since coming into office last year.
This included a €130,536 spend by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan on a PriceWaterhouseCoopers report recommending the establishment of a new and separate water authority. The Government has instead contracted Bord Gáis to run the water authority.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers also earned €48,600 from the Department of Social Protection and are providing free consultancy services to the Department of Finance, assisting “in analysing data from the covered institutions in relation to redundancy matters”, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan.
Other pro bono consultation included analysis by Accenture of the nursing homes support scheme. Accenture won a separate contract from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to assist with the establishment of a human resources “shared service centre” for the Civil Service. The consultants received €353,960 for phase one.
One of the most popular consultancy firms was Deloitte & Touche which provided services valued at almost €500,000 to four Government departments.
Minister for Health James Reilly’s spend of €1.303 million, the second largest, included €300,080 to Goodbody Stockbrokers on the capitalisation, authorisation and sale of health insurer VHI which the Government subsequently decided not to sell.
Dr Reilly said it was his policy to engage external consultants only where it was “appropriate and cost-effective”.
The largest expenditure was by Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore whose department paid just under €1.35 million for 65 reports, predominantly for the evaluation and assessment of projects in the developing world funded by Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas aid section.
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton spent €1.293 million on outside consultants including IT services worth more than €650,000. The department is heavily dependant on technology and the Minister said consultancy services were “essential” to support the delivery of services.
The figures emerged in response to a series of parliamentary questions. Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte did not supply figures. He told South Kerry Independent TD Tom Fleming that “in the time available, it has not been possible to identify and assemble the information requested”.
Spending of almost €700,000 by the Department of Transport included €119,350 for the Booz report on the future of Cork and Shannon airports.
Departmental spending included: Foreign Affairs €1,347,880; Health €1,303,695; Social Protection €1,293,065; Transport, Tourism and Sport €697,678; Public Expenditure and Reform €579,027; Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation €516,690; and Environment, Community and Local Government €402,437.