The NAMA advisory board which was created at the start of this year, and which comprises three people and which reports to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, is a strange beast. Its three members are Frank Daly, the €150,000-a-year NAMA chairman who hails from Dungarvan but seemingly spends most of his time in Dublin, and Denis Rooney who mightn’t be familiar to some of you because he is Northern Ireland-based, and lastly, bred- if not born-Irishman Michael Geoghegan. Each of the three members is providing their time pro-bono and the advisory board meets four times a year.
So how much does it cost to hold four meetings, which presumably would be held in Dublin, though as many Irish families are discovering these days, contact might also be incorporeally-made over the Internet on Skype and the like? The board hasn’t been operating for a full year yet, but the budget for “hotel, travel and subsistence “ in 2012 has been revealed to be €40,000. So if you see a massive golden throne like the one shown above, being hauled through the streets of Dublin by an army of lackeys, then you might be safe in concluding that it’s just a NAMA advisory board member off to one of four meetings a year.
“Deputy Pearse Doherty:To ask the Minister for Finance the budgeted costs for the National Assets Management Agency advisory board in 2012 and 2013; the broad headings of expenditure under which these costs will be incurred; if there is support being provided to the Board by his Department or other Government Departments which is not included in the Board’s budget, and set out the detail of any such support.
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan: My department has budgeted costs in the region of €40,000 to cover the hotel, travel and subsistence costs of the advisory group for 2012 and the cost budget for 2013 has not yet been completed. As previously advised, the members of the group operate on a pro bono basis. There is no other support provided or costs incurred by my department to, or on behalf of, the group.
I have agreed that the group will meet and report to me at least four times a year. I have met with the group on two occasions since it was established. It is also open to the Chair to contact me as issues arise. I expect the advisory group to play a valuable role and I can confirm that I am satisfied with the operation and progress of the group to date.”
UPDATE: 14th May, 2013. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has confirmed that the running costs of the NAMA advisory board in 2012 were €23,000.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 224 of 23 April 2013, if he will confirm the budgeted and actual cost of the National Asset Management Agency advisory board in its first year of operation.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: My department had budgeted costs in the region of €40,000 to cover the hotel, travel and subsistence costs of the Advisory Group for 2012, the actual cost of the group in the period was approximately €23,000. As previously advised, the members of the group operate on a pro bono basis.