PAC to look at how bodies use public money as Bord na gCon spend €227k on consultants

After confirmation that Bord na gCon spent €227,000 on consultants and amid queries about the use of taxpayer money, PAC chairman Sean Fleming ordered that all agencies and departments be asked for details.

PAC to look at how bodies use public money as Bord na gCon spend €227k on consultants

A trawl of spending by over 41 departments and state agencies on consultants and value for money is being sought by the Public Accounts Committee.

After confirmation that Bord na gCon spent €227,000 on consultants and amid queries about the use of taxpayer money, PAC chairman Sean Fleming ordered that all agencies and departments be asked for details.

PAC will now write to 41 bodies and departments seeking explanations around consultant spends and why they were needed and if there was value for money.

Sinn Fein's David Cullinane queried whether the "same consultant" firms were essentially doing the same jobs. He said taxpayers needed to get "value for money", that there should be enough direction by line departments and "better guidelines".

“It is a lot of money,” he said regarding the greyhound board spend on four consultants.

Seeking the trawl, Mr Cullinane added:

“I would say the figures [overall] would be frightening.”

Mr Fleming and PAC members agreed to the bigger probe and Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said it should be easy from agency accounts to identify consultant spending.

TD Catherine Murphy raised spends on GDPR consultancy issues by agencies, adding:

“That's where you could get efficiencies. You should be building up expertise within the public service,” she said, adding that this should be relied on over external consultants.

Mr Fleming also claimed that some consultant work just “changed the cover” on reports and that they were 99% the same. Departments would be asked to look at efficiencies, said the PAC chair.

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