WELL over €10.6 million was spent on professional consultancy fees on Clare County Council projects in 2019 and 2020.
At the February meeting of the local authority, Councillor PJ Kelly sought information on professional consultancy fees in 2019 and 2020, and a subsequent report from the Council’s Director of Finance Noeleen Fitzgerald showed that €5.21 million had been spent on such fees in 2019 and €5.48 million the following year.
However, she said the 2020 figure might yet rise further, as it only reflects costs processed so far.
“It is important to note that approximately 85% of the overall costs for both years relate to capital projects that are fully funded and primarily recouped from grant income as part of our capital works programme. These costs do not therefore form part of our Revenue operational budget.
“25% of the overall costs in both years relate to the SHIP Social Housing Investment Programme where we have a number of local authority housing construction projects in progress,” she added.
Councillor PJ Kelly said that as it stands the Council are spending about €100,000 every week on consultants.
“I think we should have a rethink and use our own skills to do an awful lot of the jobs which people are capable of doing,” he contended.
€885,000 was spent on consultants involved in the Cliffs of Moher capital programme over two years, while €740,000 went on professional services for storm damage and flood relief over the same two years.
Councillor Kelly saikd that in some cases very significant amounts of funding from projects are going to consultants. “I’d ask the CEO to have a look at using the skills that we have, and if necessary to employ other people, with skills, to do the job that is being done by consultants.”