Central Bank pays out €30m in consultant fees

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed that the Central Bank last year paid €29.9m in fees to consultants for their work in the banking crisis.

This €29.9m spend last year brings to €88m the amount that has been paid to consultants by State agencies concerning the banking crisis from 2008 to the present.

The largest fees have been paid by the Central Bank with a total of €38.4m paid to consultants over the four years. Last year, the Central Bank paid €29.9m to firms compared to €1.3m in 2010; €3.4m in 2009 and €3.8m in 2008.

However, in contrast to the other agencies, the Dept of Finance, the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF), the Central Bank is declining to name the consultants it has employed.

In a written response to a question by Fianna Fáil Finance spokesman Michael McGrath, Minister Noonan states:

“The Central Bank of Ireland has advised that it cannot provide details of payments to individual consultants due to commercial confidentiality reasons.”

In his response, Minister Noonan does not state why the fees paid to consultants by the Central Bank last year was significantly higher than any other year.

In the reply, Minister Noonan confirmed that the NTMA has paid out €31.6m in consultant fees; the Dept of Finance has paid out €13.6m and the NPRF paid out €4.2m from 2008 to the present.

The biggest winner of the named firms is legal firm Arthur Cox that has received a total of €23.5m in fees.

Minister Noonan confirmed that Arthur Cox received an additional €1.3m from the Dept of Finance last year to bring to €13.6m the amount it has received from the Department since 2008 concerning advice on the bank guarantee scheme; the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme; recapitalisation and restructuring issues and general banking advice.

Minister Noonan confirmed that Arthur Cox received an additional €7.74m in fees from the NTMA for legal advice, with the firm receiving an a €2.18m from the NPRF concerning due diligence on the Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank prior to recapitalisation, and legal advice in respect of directed investments.

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