New credit card guidelines issued after Tourist Board probe

The investigation of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s past activities rumbled on today with the heads of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment under fire from concerned members of the Executive’s public spending watchdog.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is investigating the Tourist Board’s “inappropriate” spending in New York alongside an NITB grant to Malone Lodge Hotel and the awarding of a printing contract to a company run by Tourist Board chairman Roy Bailie.

The basis for the investigation came from several Northern Ireland Audit Office reports published this year probing the Board’s procedures.

One report published in February focused on spending in New York and criticised the manager of the NITB New York office for running up a credit card bill of almost £25,000 in the year between April 2000 and March 2001.

The Audit Office said it was surprised the Tourist Board could not provide receipts for more than half the bill.

As a result Treasury Official Leo O’Reilly told the PAC today that new credit card guidelines are set to be issued to all government department bodies.

The New York spending was just one issue that Bruce Robinson, Permanent Secretary of the DETI answered hard-hitting questions upon. Explaining what PAC member Donovan McClelland described as a “very serious breakdown in procedures”, Mr Robinson said the department “recognised that the breadth of the remit of this organisation [NITB] was too wide”.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

26 February 2002
NITB's New York spree criticised by spending watchdog
Public spending watchdog, the Northern Ireland Audit Office, has again taken the Northern Ireland's Tourist Board to task. The report released on Tuesday February 26, specifically focuses on details of the tourist board's expenditure on hospitality in New York.
10 October 2002
McGrath named as new NITB chief
Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, has announced the name of the new chairman and four new members of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB). Tom McGrath, OBE, will replace Roy Bailie, OBE, as Chairman of the NITB with Mr Bailie retiring from the post as Chairman when his role expires on December 31, 2002.
08 August 2005
Tourists touch down to International welcome
A new Tourist Information Centre (TIC) was opened at Belfast International Airport on Monday. Opened as a pilot project last June by the Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau (BVCB), the TIC has now been expanded because of an increase in air access and the subsequent demand from those looking for visitor information.
07 August 2001
NITB appoint new Chief Executive
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) have appointed a new Chief Executive, former head of Aberdeen and Grampian Tourist Board, Alan Clarke.
04 June 2018
New York Pizza Firm To Create 50 New Posts In Belfast
A New York pizza firm is to create 50 new posts in Belfast. Slice, which provides an online and mobile ordering and payment platform for independent pizzerias in the US, is establishing a new software engineering centre in Northern Ireland.