Dublin Airport Gold Card purchased by Dublin Port manager ‘in error’

Port says all credit-card expenditure properly recorded and authorised

Dublin Port has said all of its expenses  were disclosed in the company’s financial accounts, which were independently audited and met all reporting requirements and standards

Dublin Port has said all of its expenses were disclosed in the company’s financial accounts, which were independently audited and met all reporting requirements and standards

 

A manager at Dublin Port bought a €3,000 Dublin Airport Gold Card by mistake and never used it, according to a source close to the port.

Responding to reports over the weekend about 22 executives running up credit-card bills totalling €522,000, the port said all expenditure listed on its credit cards was “entirely on company business”.

The purchase of the gold card – which gives VIP treatment and access at the airport – by communications manager Charlie Murphy was “in error”, the source said.

The card was held for one year and “wasn’t availed of or used and wasn’t renewed”.

A gold card gives the holder access to unlimited fast-track through security, annual unlimited “executive short-term parking” and unlimited access to the “executive lounges” as well as discount on airport shopping.

Other expenses listed included €8,625 to John Cassidy Travel to pay for 22 children from St Joseph’s youth football club in East Wall, which the port said was to take part in a tournament exchange with Spanish children.

A €1,666.20 payment to Halpenny Golf was for branded merchandise, the port said.

It said the billing of an iTunes subscription, a dishwasher repair and a €25.08 payment to Amazon for a replacement coffee pot were down to its purchase order system.

Independently audited

In a statement, the port said all of its expenses including travel, subsistence and hospitality were disclosed in the company’s financial accounts, which were independently audited and met all reporting requirements and standards.

It was reported in the Sunday Independent that port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly spent almost €95,000 on his credit card on flights, hotels and other expenses in 2018.

His expenses reportedly included a €5,500 airfare for Dublin Lord Mayor Nial Ring to fly to Chicago.

Responding, the port said: “Credit cards are used as an administratively efficient means of payment with strong audit control. All credit-card expenditure is properly recorded, receipted and authorised. ”

The report said Dublin Port also spent more than €200,000 on commissioning a song from musician Philip King for the launch of the Luxembourg-owned “Brexit Buster” ferry the MV Celine as well as just under €7 million on a garden for its headquarters.

The garden was “in fact a substantial capital project involving a complete overhaul of the entire public realm at port centre and access”, the port said.

“This was in keeping with the company’s masterplan objective of greater port-city integration, softening the boundary of the port’s interface with the city and the first refurbishment work to be carried out at Port Centre in 35 years.”

Commissioned song

The commissioned song was “in fact a major event to mark the christening of a new ship, MV Celine”.

“Payment to [Mr King’s company] South Wind Blows included not only the commissioning of new music, but the staging and rigging for the event, full production, AV and payment to the participating artists and musicians including Lisa Hannigan, Damien Dempsey, John Sheahan and Colm Mac Con Iomaire.”