The Irish Coast Guard is planning to spend €400,000 on branded merchandise, including pencils, rulers, towels, hats and more, despite a potential looming recession.
The figures, which were revealed in a report by the Irish Examiner this week, were found on an eTenders website submitted by the Department of Transport.
However, as reported by the Examiner, Senator Gerard Craughwell called the planned spend an “outrageous waste of public money,” adding that he would be raising the matter in the Seanad.
“I cannot believe that, in the middle of an international financial crisis, the Irish Coast Guard feel it is absolutely necessary to spend this amount of money on things like branded pens and pencils,” he reportedly said.
“The organisation is also involved in a tender process that is likely to cost the taxpayer more than, as I have stated in the Seanad, €1bn for five helicopters for four bases.
“This is all the while the UK has managed to sign a Search and Rescue contract for 18 helicopters for 12 bases, including fixed wing and drone support, for a total of £1.6 billion for ten years.
“There is something terribly wrong with an organisation like the Irish Coast Guard that feels one of its spending priorities is branded merchandising.
“This is taxpayers’ money at the end of the day and I will be demanding Transport Minister Eamon Ryan either come into the Seanad himself or sent someone else to explain why this is absolutely necessary.”
The full list of branded goods include sports bags, pens, towels, water bottles, and more.
The Coast Guard defended the proposed spend, however, saying:
“The merchandise is required to promote Water Safety as part of the Coast Guard’s water safety campaign that includes attendance at national public events, local events and a well-established primary school water safety educational programme.”
The news comes as the Central Bank warned that Ireland could be facing a recession amid the ongoing global inflation and energy crisis.
Gript has previously reported the topic of wasteful state spending, which can be viewed below.