€74k spent on travel for diaspora Minister’s office

Foreign travel costs for the office of the Minister for the Diaspora which was set up in July 2014, have amounted to almost €74,000, according to information released under the Freedom of Information Act.

€74k spent on travel for diaspora Minister’s office

A one-day conference on returning emigrants held in Dingle, Co Kerry, in Minister Jimmy Deenihan’s home county earlier this month got a grant of €50,000.

The accommodation and travel figure of €73,892 represents flights and accommodation for Mr Jimmy Deenihan and officers from the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs who travelled abroad with him in his role as Minister for Diaspora Affairs, according to the information.

The number of destinations between July 2014 and early November 2015 was 17. In 2014 these included short trips to Missouri (July 30 to August 1); Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Kuala Lumpur (October 7 to 11); New York and Philadelphia (November 4-8) ; and two nights in Paris, (December 2 to 3). Ten days were spent in Australia in November, 2014.

This year’s trips included four nights in Washington and Boston (January 20 to 24) and five nights in San Francisco and San Diego (February 4 to 9). One of Mr Deenihan’s longest spells abroad in 2015 was during the period of the Berkeley balcony collapse when he visited San Francisco, Austin and Denver (June 16 to 24). There were four trips of one and two days to London in 2015 and one to Scotland. There was a six-day trip to Chicago and Milwaukee taking in St Patrick’s Day.

Mr Deenihan is Ireland’s first Minister for Diaspora Affairs — which comes under the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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