Limerick Council paid €350k for New Year’s celebrations

Local government auditors have launched an attack on internal bookkeeping practices at Limerick City and County Council.

Criticism was also levelled at the manner in which funding had been given to Limerick’s year-long National City of Culture celebration without national and EU procedures being followed.

One of the issues raised was that of a consultant hired for €84,000 without a contract in place.

And, since the amalgamation of the city and county councils in October 2014, the department’s auditors are further concerned the position of internal auditor remained vacant, despite increased risks associated with a merger.

Payments highlighted in the Local Government Auditors Service report for 2014 include €350,000 to an events management company for New Year’s Eve celebrations of 2013/2014.

Furthermore, €80,000 given to a company for marketing and publicity, and €20,000 to an arts production company were also noted by the auditors.

On the matter of payments to the National City of Culture event, council chief executive Conn Murray, replied to the auditors: “In relation to [these] payments and in particular the event on New Year’s Eve which did receive quotations, the tight timeframe in relation to preparing for this event did not provide the council an adequate opportunity to procure under the relevant EU guidelines.”

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