The budget for State cars and drivers for the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, the President, Michael D Higgins and other members of a select State funded group cost over €1m last year.
That is according to new figures provided by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, who reveals that €200,698 was set aside for Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar’s State car and driver costs in 2017.
In addition, €197,005 was provided in 2017 for President, Michael D Higgins State car and the cost of drivers.
The scheme also provides for a State car and driver for the office of Tanáiste. The costs of the office of the Tanaiste car and driver were shared with Dept of Justice, Dept of Business Enterprise and Innovation and Dept of Foreign Affairs in 2017 and the combined costs for those three departments last year totalled €278,000.
In addition, the State last year set aside €179,841 for a car and driver for the office of Chief Justice - the current Chief Justice, Frank Clarke took up his role in July 2017 when he replaced Ms Justice Susan Denham.
The other State office to enjoy the services of a State car and State funded driver is the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the DPP is currently Ms Claire Loftus.
The amount set aside for the State car and driver to Ms Loftus last year totalled €186,958.
In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins, Minister Flanagan said that the total costs include an estimate for payroll costs of drivers, running costs and capital costs where applicable.
Along with the State cars provided to those five Office holders, Minister Flanagan revealed that a driver and vehicle service is provided to the State Pathologist/Deputy State Pathologist when they are called to cases outside Dublin and the cost to December 10 for this year was €25,386.
This followed a cost of €29,708 in 2017.
Minister Flanagan stated: “The current service provider was selected through a procurement process undertaken in conjunction with the Office of Government Procurement... A previous arrangement for the provision of a driver to the Officer of the Inspector was discontinued in 2016.”