The State had to fork out nearly €20,000 for Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s car and limousine hire in July, new figures reveal. Opposition TDs said the amount spent on driving Mr Kenny around was “scandalous”.
The bulk of the money went on ferrying the Taoiseach and his entourage in a St Patrick’s Day trip to the US. Though the trip took place in March, the monies were paid out in July causing a huge spike on the €7,500 paid out for the same services in the same month last year.
An Atlanta-based firm was given €4,300 for two days’ service in March as the Taoiseach visited the American south. Admiral Limo in Washington DC also received €2,750 for driving Mr Kenny and his group around the US capital.
Mr Kenny has come under fire in the past for the amount of money spent on official photography and make-up while Taoiseach. Fine Gael and Labour promised to crack down on what they derided in opposition as the “lavish” travel and expenses regime under the previous Fianna Fáil-led government.
Overall, the State was left with a bill of €140,000 for all ministerial trips last St Patrick’s Day, but this is set to rise as not all departments have yet revealed the costs of the annual visits.
However, the Government has estimated these visits generated €2.7m in trade and investments. In, all 29 ministers visited 70 countries to attend St Patrick’s Day celebrations. The trips included 148 business events which were attended by 18,000 people across the globe.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the money lavished on limos and cars by the Taoiseach and his entourage was “excessive” and the situation should be looked at in future.
“It seems like a scandalous amount of money to spend for a few days when people back here are really suffering, particularly homeless people and people in dire need,” said Mr Boyd Barrett.
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