FAS, the State jobs agency with the €20m-a-week budget, has spent a huge amount of taxpayers’ money on round-the-world business class travel for top executives and their wives, luxury hotels in the US, gifts and other entertainment.
A Sunday Independent investigation found that Fas staff have enjoyed top-of-the- range limousines and chauffeurs, gourmet meals and golf games in sunny Florida.
In just four years, Fas has spent €643,000 on transatlantic travel for chief executive Rody Molloy, his wife, top staff and guests. Fas says it was promoting the Fas Science Challenge Intern Programme.
Gifts for a Government minister were included in expenditure. Corporate Affairs director Greg Craig, now on sick leave, carried a company credit card with a limit of €76,000.
Last December the troubled agency, currently the target of two inquiries, paid €12,071 for two business-class round-the-world tickets for a departing official to attend a skills event. Stopovers included Tokyo, Honolulu and San Francisco.
Fas chairman, trade union boss Peter McLoone, accompanied chief executive Rody Molloy on a €7,300-a-head return business class flight to Orlando for a week-long stay.
On another trip, Mr Molloy charged the State agency $942 for a game of golf in the Grand Cypress Resort Golf club. In a further display of affluence, after a €200-a-head dinner at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, the jobs agency’s bosses gave hotel staff a €908 tip.
Last night, a spokesman for Fas responded that the US programme had cost €6.645m. Of that, about €600,000 was spent on travel, €1.2m on accommodation — mostly for students — and €170,000 on transportation.
Asked why Mr Molloy often brought his wife, the spokesman said: “It is my understanding that she was invited and it is the appropriate protocol for her to go.”