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Call to probe Failte Ireland chief’s €2,600 consultancy fee from firm which was paid €30,000 by Failte



Failte Ireland chief Paul Carty was paid consultancy fees by a company which received €30,000 from Failte while he was acting chairman of the agency.

The Irish Mirror can reveal that the new boss of the country’s main tourism body received the sum while also interim chairman of Failte in 2021, where his pay was €20,520 a year.

Mr Carty was promoted to full-time chairman of Failte Ireland by Tourism Minister Catherine Martin in February.

A conflict of interest arose because the company, the Cliffs of Moher, was paid €30,000 by Failte Ireland under the tourism agency’s grants scheme in July 2021.

Mr Carty “exempted” himself from the Zoom meeting when the final funding decision was being made and his board colleagues, who he is chairman of, then gave the green light.

A spokeswoman for Failte Ireland told the Mirror: “Paul Carty declared a conflict of interest and in line with regulations and best practice absented himself from the meeting for the item.

“The Chairperson of the Investment Committee chaired the Authority meeting for the duration of the Cliffs of Moher item.”

Failte has confirmed to the Irish Mirror that Mr Carty, the former head of the Guinness Storehouse, had the Cliffs of Moher as one of his clients.

Failte said he received €2,600 in consultancy fees for private work while acting as chairman.

In light of the revelation, calls are now being made for a Dail committee to investigate if this conflict of interest was handled appropriately.

It comes after an official inquiry was launched by the Department of Housing last week into potential conflict of interest issues arising in An Bord Pleanala (ABP).

Deputy chairman of ABP Paul Hyde has temporarily stepped down pending the outcome of the investigation.

And it follows the resignation of Mr Carty’s predecessor, Michael Cawley, for a separate Covid issue where he travelled abroad on holidays against Government advice.

Sinn Fein tourism spokeswoman Imelda Munster is calling for further clarity on the Failte Ireland/Paul Carty matter at the next Dail transport committee meeting.

She told the Irish Mirror: “Mr Carty clearly has some questions to answer.

“And I think the place he should answer those questions is before a Dail committee, so I will be asking the committee to consider writing to the Failte Ireland board asking for their chairman to come before us in Leinster House.

“I am not saying that Mr Carty has broken any rules here, but at the very least I think we are looking at poor practice here and we need to ask more questions to get to the bottom of this.”

The Mirror offered Mr Carty the opportunity to comment.

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