Taxpayers pay out €350,000 on home security for six ministers

SIX members of the Government have paid almost €60,000 each in State money to boost security at their homes over the past seven years, it emerged yesterday.

A total of €350,465.09 was paid to enhance security at the properties of those occupying the senior and junior ministerial positions since 1998 an average of €10,952.04 each, considering there are 15 ministers and 17 Junior ministers.

However, it is understood that just five ministers and one minister of State required the State money to bolster security at their properties over the seven-year period.

The figure was revealed in the answer to a recent parliamentary question by Fine Gael's Brendan Durkan, who is demanding further details as to the individual expenditure of ministers.

The Kildare TD questioned the level of spending, which he deemed "quite high" and "odd", and said he would table a follow-up question later this month demanding to know who accrued the highest cost to the State in addition to attaching names to the various sums paid.

"The reply was that it was a security sensitive issue and that it would be improper to give that information," Mr Durkan said.

"There would have to be some who would have used nothing at all, but I suspect that there's something in there for works that are not security enhancing at all."

Security-sensitive portfolios, such as that of Minister for Justice and Minister for Foreign Affairs, would be the most likely to accrue increased costs, in addition to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste.

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