Are you in favour of human rights? Actually, it doesn’t matter whether you are of not because you are paying for them anyway. The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is publicly funded and that means by you. Now don’t you feel better about yourself?
Would you be interested to know how your money is being spent in defense of human rights? Well first they decided to to do a makeover of their leased city centre offices, (in Dublin naturally). I have no idea what condition the interior was in before our rights activists set about making some changes but it must be a damned plush spot now.
They spent more than €14,000 on five display televisions to begin with. Among other items purchased were a €16,728 meeting table along with €15,153 for twenty-two chairs to go around it. Sixteen grand for a table for fuck’s sake! The chairs each cost almost €690 and were described in invoices as “stick executive high back chairs”. They were bought from the Italian design firm ICF Office. A “bevel meeting table” was also bought from the same Milanese company. It cost €2,779 and seats six people. With a white top and an oak frame. Two more ten-seater meeting tables were bought from the German design firm Konig + Neurath, each of them costing €4,108. Someone at the IHREC has a thing about tables and chairs.
Then they decided they needed storage so five two door storage units from Konig + Neurath were bought as well, each coming with a price tag of €1,273. Another forty-four similar units were bought from the same firm, every one of them costing in excess of €1,000. I guess when they got those in they felt the need for some seating because they ordered two designer Sinetica captain chairs, each of which cost just under €900. The elegant lounge chairs have an oakwood base and are described as a “light and sinuous armchair with an ample and relaxing outline”. Then the phobia for tables must have become intense because they promptly purchased another six Quattro tables from the design firm Andreu World. Each of those cost €848.70 with a combined bill of €5,092.
Surrounded by tables, their minds must have turned to things to sit on. Five sofas, each costing more than €1,300, were bought as part of the refurbishment project. Three of them were bought from the UK-based design firm sixteen3. They came from the Erno line with its “strong rectilinear aesthetic” and are ideal “for breakout, reception and lounge areas”. Individually, they cost between €1,346 and €1,414. Two more basket sofas – each costing just over €1,500 – were bought from the Danish furniture designers Softline, (according to invoices released under FOI). Other items purchased included four receptionist chairs, each more than €600, a conference room lectern costing €1,992, and five “executive storage credenzas” for a combined €6,672.
Eight “floor cushions”, each costing over €100, ended up costing €836.40 after VAT was included. Another almost €25,000 was spent on the purchase of 58 “liberty ergonomic office chairs”, according to a table of costs.
Now to be fair to them, The entire refurbishment project cost €1.9 million, (of your money), with just under €150,000 paid out for architectural services and the main bulk of the cost, almost €1.5 million, spent on construction services for this leased building. They plan to have 64 staff so naturally those people will need somewhere to do their work. But €320,000 on fixtures and fittings lads! That’s a bit steep don’t you think? This is from a body set up to promote equality among other things but I for one would never be able to equal that level of spending on my fixtures and fittings. And I note also that the items bought are fashion accessories and all from foreign companies. What about some plain long lasting Irish furnishings? Surely our local lads should have had an “equal” share at least?
But incidents like this are the reason the Government keeps coming back to us for even more taxes.