Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Uduras party continues to swing as public expenditure cuts bite everywhere else

There is clearly no shortage of resources at Údurás na Gaeltachta judging by the 2009 Annual Report which was published on their web site just as our new sovereign leadership (IMF and ECB) arrived in Dublin. Perhaps their reticence is understandable because this report certainly prompts some critical and penetrating questions.

  • 10% of the total income (€6,532,902 out of €63,615,000) was paid to board members in fees, grants and other transactions in 2009 – a year when full-time grant supported employment dropped by 720 jobs to 7,473. Taxpayers deserve a detailed explanation of these transactions and an insight into how much of their own cash recipients contributed to grant-supported projects and what sustainable value the State obtained for the taxpayers money.
    Reference Notes 9 and 21 – 2009 Annual Report
  • Board members obtained €12,813,823 in members fees, expenses, grants and in respect of anonymous transactions since 2005.

  • Between 2005 and 2009 a total of €94.28 million was paid in grants while the total underlying employment dropped by 185 jobs from 7,473 to 7,658. These grants included €34.3 million on fixed assets to presumably increase production capacity to create new employment; €3.4 million on property rental subsidies; €11.8 million on employment grants; €29.3 million on training; €13 million on research and development and €2.2 million on grants for no attributable objectives. The scale of this is mind boggling.  What enduring benefit has been achieved for this expenditure?
  • Travel and Motor Expenses for the staff whose total number declined from 113 to 100 from 2005 to 2009 amounted to €4.26 million. How come it was necessary to spend the equivalent cost of ten business class round-the-world airline tickets for each staff member when nothing demonstrable was accomplished?
  • Cumulative expenditure in 2007, 2008 and 2009 on building projects that did not go ahead in the last five years €1.86 million. What were the circumstances of this spending? Who obtained this money and why?
  • Expenditure on buildings since 2005 was €51.5 million, including €16 million since the property market crashed in 2008. How much was spent on the provision of high-speed internet connectivity?
  • In the light of the foregoing, is there any reason to believe that this agency is actually a State resourced property development company whose capacity to foster enterprise is as dynamic as the capacity of the soil of Bellyferriter to grow grapes to make vintage champagne?

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