Fianna Fáil junior minister Niall Collins paid a construction company owned by a tax defaulter €61,000 in state funds – from an allowance for PR and training.
Collins has refused to say why he did this nor the nature of the work carried out by the company for him.
The Limerick county TD used the taxpayer-funded special secretarial allowance to pay the company owned by greyhound trainer Brendan Moore.
Liberi Management Consultants Ltd (LMC) doesn’t have a website and doesn’t advertise its services to the public.
Greyhounds, unpaid tax and a book launched by Mary O’Rourke
Greyhound trainer Brendan Moore founded LMC in 2018. The firm provides construction project management and training services, according to a 2022 post on the Limerickman’s LinkedIn account.
Moore is a tax defaulter.
The Revenue Commissioners in August 2015 obtained a €31,503 Circuit Court judgment against him for unpaid taxes.
Moore is also a published author and two months after this judgment, Collins attended his book launch in Ballylanders GAA club, county Limerick. Former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O’Rourke launched the novel, The Poacher’s Curse, in November 2015.
In 2011 Simon Coveney appointed Moore to the board of Greyhound Racing Ireland (formerly Bord na gCon). Moore resigned in controversial circumstances less than two years later over what he described at the time as “political influence” at board level.
Freedom of information records recently released to journalist Ken Foxe confirmed that Collins paid LMC just more than €61,000 since his appointment as junior minister for education in July 2020. The largest single payment to LMC was €30,818.90.
Collins is entitled to an annual vouched special secretarial allowance worth €41,092 to cover the “purchase of secretarial services, public relations, information technology and training services”, according to the Oireachtas.
Accounts filed with the Companies Registration Office in September this year show LMC recorded a profit of €3,327 in 2021.
Both Collins and Moore declined to comment when asked about the nature of their arrangement.