Fianna Fáil TD for Meath West Shane Cassells TD has obtained new information which shows that €38m was spent on 911 external consultant reports commissioned by the Government between March 2011 and December 2017.

The figures were revealed through a series of parliamentary questions and show that on average each report costed €42,000.

Commenting on the figures, Deputy Cassels said, “€38m is a shockingly high figure to splash out on consultants when we already have an expanding civil service who should be fully equipped to run their departments.

“These figures expose the over reliance of the Government on expensive external reports and underlines the need to ensure the tax payer gets value for money from these consultants. Some of the reports are highly questionable in nature.

“For example, numerous reports have gone unpublished for no specific reason despite the significant cost associated with them. This includes significant reports on the Housing Assistance Payment and Social Housing construction.

“Other reports, such as a departmental report into planning irregularities, were then quashed by the High Court. Why are these reports just left to gather dust on Government shelves? All this serves is to highlight the need for greater transparency and oversight of such major spending.

“Fianna Fáil has continually called for this system to be fully reviewed. The committee system should be given greater powers to review the use of external consultancy reports to ensure they provide value for money, do not duplicate efforts that can already be undertaken by the civil service and offer substantive insights into pressing problems and are not used as a box ticking exercise by Government Ministers.

“These changes will create a more open system, protect tax payers from being ripped off and focus reports towards the kind of issues that require hiring external advice,” concluded Deputy Cassells.