Finance and its agencies spend €100m on consultants

The Department of Finance and agencies under its control have spent more than €100m on consultants over the last three years.

Figures released to Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Micheal McGrath showed €103m has been spent by the Department of Finance, the National Treasury Management Agency and the Central Bank since the Fine Gael/Labour coalition came to power three years ago. The Central Bank accounted for 75% of the spend on all consultancy contracts awarded.

Arthur Cox, investment bank Goldman Sachs, and consultancy firm McKinsey and Co were among the beneficiaries of the spend.

Arthur Cox earned €12.3m in fees from the Department of Finance and NTMA. The Central Bank paid a further €3m in legal fees, but it is not clear where this went.

Matheson, formerly known as Matheson Ormsby Prentice, earned €1m for legal consultancy from the Department of Finance.

Goldman Sachs earned €9.1m in fees from the NTMA for financial consulting, while McKinsey and Co also received €4.4m for financial consulting.

The NTMA defended the spend, as it was incurred as part of the department’s shareholder unit.

Mr McGrath said the reliance on outside expertise was indicative of a lack of skills and technical knowledge within the finance department and its agencies. “The amount of money spent by the State to buy advice on issues pertaining to the banking sector over the past number of years highlights an extraordinary over-dependence on consultants and a lack of expertise within the Department of Finance, the NTMA and the Central Bank,” he said.

“It seems to me that any time a serious decision has to be made or a new initiative undertaken, expensive external consultants seem to be the first port of call.”

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