Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform Sean Fleming has said the Minister for Public Expenditure is failing to control wasteful spending by State agencies after it was revealed Forfás spent €1,407,655m on vacant office space in 2012.

Deputy Fleming commented: “The 2012 Financial Statements from Forfás raises serious questions for Minister Howlin and the OPW which comes under his control.  It is clear taxpayer’s money is being wasted on empty office space in Dublin.  This is totally unacceptable, particularly when the agency concerned has a crucial role in tackling the jobs crisis.

“We need to see real joined-up thinking across Government to tackle this type of problem.  Forfás comes under the direct remit of the Department of Jobs and Enterprise but while Minister Bruton is more preoccupied with trying to abolish the Seanad it’s up to Minister Howlin, who is in charge of all spending, to coordinate vacant space in State property with the OPW and ensure the taxpayer is not needlessly exposed to wasteful spending.

“At a time when over 415,000 people are still on the Live Register is simply not good enough for a State agency to be wasting almost €1.5m on empty offices.  Minister Howlin needs to ensure there is an audit of how much such vacant office space there is across State agencies and how much more money the taxpayer is being forced to pay out as a result.”