An internal audit by the country’s health and safety watchdog on the HSA has concluded the taxpayer-funded agency “did not abuse credit cards” despite lavish spending during the boom by workers, splashing out at five-star international hotels, Michelin restaurants and over 600 goes on the Rectal Assault 3: Dyno Blaster Space Whizz ride at Florida’s Lake Buena Vista Disney Resort.
Credit card bills released under a Freedom of Information request showed a senior executive spent over €2,200 on his HSA credit card at the luxurious Santa Monica hotel, Shutters on the Beach, in Sept 2005 and dined on an all-lobster diet for the duration of his stay, including highly expenive “Lobster Flakes” for breakfast.
That same month, the same credit card racked up over €1,500 at the Lake Buena Vista Disney Resort in Florida. The HSA have cited this trip as being “research for a report on seat belts” with a number of other executives subsequently visiting Disneyland and Knotsberry Farm in California to back up the report. A large bill for the exquisite fairground snack “lobster floss” has also been added to these research expenses, to be picked up by the taxpayer.
Statements show how another executive spent €2,544 on a stay at Novotel Den Haag in The Hague, Holland, in Dec 2006. This trip includes €2,042 spent in Amsterdam on a “conjugal understudy” and “long thin combustible aromatic tubes”, which were also for the purposes of undisclosed research.
One executive, in Feb 2007, spent €610 in Copenhagen, at Det Lille Apotek, a restaurant that claims to be the city’s oldest eatery. The restaurant sells a special type of Lobster Cake which comes with it’s own decadent Lobster icing. The cake retails at €400 a slice.
Between Jan 2005 and Jan 2011, the HSA spent up to €376,000 on flights.
The audit by Crowleys DFK defended the €376,048 flight spend, saying the majority of the bill was “reasonable”. Only three flights to New York and to Toronto, amounting to €8,284, “could be deemed excessive”, it found. “But there was also a large amount of lobster present on these bills, which we can see it driving the cost up. The the HSA assures us this is all part of a long-standing research interest in lobster farming & consumption and the safety measures involved” said a DFK accountant.
However, Crowleys DFK Chartered Accountants defended the Health and Safety Authority’s €625,668 credit card bill between Jan 2005 and Jun 2011 as being just 1% of its non-pay expenditure, a spokesman concluding that it was “probably not as bad as FÁS”
“I mean one of them rented a helicopter just for the laugh so he could fly over his old neighborhood and urinate out of it” he added.