A staff of 18 chefs and caterers are employed at Áras an Uachtaráin to provide meals for the President and his guests at a cost to the taxpayer of almost €865,000.
The team includes an executive head chef, a chef, an assistant chef, a cook, and a catering and services captain. These are supported by 12 catering and services assistants and one kitchen assistant.
Additional external support staff is contracted as required, according to the Office of Public Works (OPW), which is responsible for the maintenance and management of Áras an Uachtaráin.
The amount allocated for the payment of household staff at the President’s residence this year is €862,000 — representing an increase of €65,000 or 8% compared to 2015.
The OPW said that the increase in catering staff costs this year reflected the projected level of service requirements and associated costs in 2016.
The details are contained in a departmental brief prepared for the new Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW, which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
The brief shows the costs have increased each year by a total of €91,000 since 2014: from €771,000 to €797,000 in 2015, and by another €65,000 last year to €862,000 in 2016.
Hans Zomer, director of communications and information at Áras an Uachtaráin declined to address queries in relation to catering costs, stating: “This is a matter for the OPW, not the Office of the President.”
The OPW confirmed that a total of 18 household staff are employed to cater for the President, his family and guests at Áras an Uachtaráin. An estimated 20,000 people visit the President’s residence each year.
“The 2016 Estimate of €862,000 provides for the estimated costs of the projected level of catering staff costs in 2016,” it said.
“The anticipated costs in 2016 are higher by 8% than the 2015 outturn and reflect the projected level of service requirements and associated costs in that year.
“Due to the nature of the work undertaken, the numbers include a significant proportion of part-time and casual staff. These are generic positions that are relative in terms of responsibilities and duties to those elsewhere in catering.”
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