National Consumer Agency – a complete waste of money?

I don’t always agree with what Michael Hennigan from Finfacts.ie has to say, but last week I couldn’t but agree with what he had to say about my friends in the National Consumer Agency:

An illustration of out-of-control public spending is provided by the State body, the National Consumer Agency, which was established to ensure consumers get value for money but it could well begin with itself –  a chief executive who was recruited from a small insurance industry body, presumably got a huge salary hike to the current level of over €182,000 plus pension benefits.

A board of 14 sets policy and after more than 3 years of operation, there isn’t even a basic online price comparison service available – that of course would require a multi-million euro investment as who among the Insiders, would trust a value-for-money start-up with such a mighty task? So much for the knowledge economy and blather on innovation, when services like Facebook could be launched from a university dorm!

The full article is available here – Irish Economy 2009: Balancing the Budget by improving the public sector.

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5 Responses to National Consumer Agency – a complete waste of money?

  1. Gabriel Presso January 16, 2009 at 12:30 #

    Thank you for the links. I remember seeing a price comparison tool for mobile phone tariffs, who owns that?

  2. Mick January 16, 2009 at 15:15 #

    NCA is good for its Board members if not for the irish consumer. they get €14,000 pa plus good expenses (civil service rates). celia larkin was appointed (what were her qualifications for this?) and as she apparently lives in Co clare or wherever now she can claim lots of lovely mileage.

    If only I could get nominated for some of these useless Boards…does anyone know how you do it? i wouldn’t be prepared to get into bed with Bertie though…

  3. valueireland January 17, 2009 at 00:05 #

    @Gabriel – the site you’re thinking about is http://www.callcosts.ie from ComReg. Remember though, the information on that site is provided by the phone companies themselves, so is open to manipulation to suit their own particular purposes.

    @Mick – Celia Larkin was an experienced business person operating directly with consumers – perfect experience to defend said consumers.

  4. Mick January 17, 2009 at 11:14 #

    No Value ireland, celia larkin ran Dertie’s office for many years and was paid out of our taxes. She was his bag lady, but she didn’t count the money or ask questions according to her sworn evidence at the mahon tribunal. After years of being paid by us to help to keep Bertie topping the poll, she set up a beauty salon and one might ask where the money came form. maybe she won it on a horse like her ex did? I dont know if she that often dealt directly with clients in the salon – it might have been mainly paid staff. i dont think this track record justifies putting her on the NCA Board. her nomination was part of the process of keeping her sweet because she could have blown bertie out of the water. There would be many more experienced business persons out there who might have stirred it on the NCA board but people like that dont get put on state boards in this country.

  5. valueireland January 17, 2009 at 22:47 #

    @Mick –

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