Almost €17m in taxpayers’ money is being spent every year to keep ambassadors and high-ranking officials in the lap of luxury, including €4.5m alone on lavish diplomatic residences.
The Department of Foreign Affairs revealed the figures as separate files show it cost a further €50m to run embassies and consulates last year.
According to official records given to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, in 2017 Irish taxpayers paid €12.5m to rent embassies and consulates in countries across the world and a further €4.5m to rent homes for ambassadors and other officials. Among the most costly residence rental bills were €540,956 for a home in Tokyo, Japan; €288,271 for a property in New Delhi, India; €231,778 for Singapore; and €215,696 for a home in New York.
The cost of temporary housing for ambassadors and their families includes:
Of the €12.5m paid on rented embassies and official properties, the highest came in at €1,699,420 for the embassy and consular offices in New York and €1,229,755 to rent similar offices in Brussels, Belgium.
They also include:
The official figures also show the State owns embassies and consulates worth a further €98m, and ambassador and other residencies valued €69.5m. Last month, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said this was likely to rise due to the Brexit fallout.
The figures were revealed as it separately emerged that the Department of Foreign Affairs spent €56m last year on keeping ambassadors and their officials in the lap of luxury in their foreign locations.
Details published in a Sunday newspaper show the State spent €180,000 on luxury cars overseas, €58,000 on “furniture and fittings”, €5,000 on a bust for a former diplomat, and thousands of euro on food and drink for guests. The luxury cars included three new Audi A6s for the Irish embassy and Brussels officials, costing €29,000-€32,500 each after discounts; a €25,400 BMW for the embassy in Latvia; and a €23,000 Mercedes F Class for the embassy in Cyprus.
At home, the banquet bills for the visits of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Britain’s Prince Charles amounted to €6,000 each.
While the need for Ireland to be properly represented abroad is clear, the scale of the costs is likely to anger public service campaign groups. It will be exacerbated by the fact there will be a doubling of Ireland’s embassy and ambassador presence by 2025 due to Brexit, according to Mr Varadkar.
Embassy and consular offices and accommodation
New York, USA (permanent representative to UN and consulate general) €1,699,420 combined
Brussels, Belgium (embassy and partnership for peace offices) €1,229,755
Beijing, China €501,825
London, UK €406,490
Geneva, Switzerland €339,598
Tokyo, Japan €300,133
San Francisco, USA €267,984
Sydney, Australia €248,429
Berlin, Germany €256,714
Buenos Aires, Argentina €152,928
Paris, France €44,999,999
Rome, Italy €18,455,260
Tokyo, Japan €7,739,705
The Hague, Netherlands €6,153,522
Canberra, Australia €4,071,432
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia €3,065,959
Maputo, Mozambique €2,852,351
Washington DC, USA €2,794,161
Strasbourg, France €1,816,501
Lusaka, Zambia €1,655,149
Tokyo, Japan €540,956
New Delhi, India €288,271
New York, USA €215,696
Tel Aviv, Israel €195,629
Jakarta, Indonesia €159,111
Helsinki, Finland €144,023
Seoul, South Korea €137,787
Geneva, Switzerland €134,483
Vienna, Austria €107,692
Ottawa, Canada €7,915,192
Madrid, Spain €6,180,509
New York, USA €5,709,341
The Hague, Netherlands €5,404,818
Washington DC, USA €4,318,339
Berlin, Germany €4,058,286
Athens, Greece €3,608,758
Prague, Czech Republic €2,808,149
Lisbon, Portugal €2,460,709
Stockholm, Sweden €2,335,901
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