PAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visit

PAC to review spend on luxury toilets for papal visit

The Government spent more than €1m on “luxury toilets” for high-ranking guests, portaloos, and a marquee as part of a €15m spending spree for the August visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.

The Office of Public Works confirmed the new figures in a detailed document given to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members in recent days.

According to the file, which has been seen by the Irish Examiner, costs to date total €15.75m.

While essential issues related to stewarding, security and Garda overtime, questions are likely to be raised at this morning’s PAC meeting over the purchase of ‘luxury toilets’ for dignitaries.

In a letter to the PAC, OPW chairman Maurice Buckley confirmed the €15m-plus spending levels and said they were needed due to the scale of the operation involved.

He disclosed spending included:

  • Luxury toilets, marquee hire, portable chemical toilets, and astroturf decking: €1.19m;
  • Camera platforms and related matters: €4.9m;
  • Cleaning works and road sweeping: €649,080;
  • Stewards: €1,005m;
  • Works to the Phoenix Park gates: €244,075.

The fresh details of the financial spend are likely to cause further public frustration over the value of the visit itself.

While a significant percentage of the population supported the visit, between 130,000 and 200,000 attended the Phoenix Park event.

It was less than half the 500,000 people who had secured tickets, and a huge drop from the 2.7m-strong crowds during the last papal visit in 1979.

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