£24m spent on running Irish planning tribunal
The Republic has racked up a massive €29m (£24m) bill meeting the day-to-day running costs for the Mahon Tribunal, it can be revealed.
The Irish taxpayer has spent €150,000 (£120,000) on tea, water and newspapers alone for the tribunal's legal team, as well as forking out for plants and crockery.
The longest-running tribunal in the history of the State has cost €97m (£80m) to date - but €29m of this on the 13-year tribunal at Dublin Castle was on 'administrative' costs.
It means the tribunal has spawned a mini-industry in office supplies, IT, recruitment and even exotic plants to decorate offices.
The tribunal, which last sat in public in October 2008, has yet to produce a final report, but it is expected shortly.
Established in 1997 to probe alleged planning corruption in Dublin, the bill continues to rocket for the inquiry which has sat for 916 days.
In the last three years, the bill has been almost €4.8m (£3.9m). In the same period, tribunal lawyers were paid almost €5.4m (£4.4m) for work.