Taoiseach orders drop in St Patrick's Day costs

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has ordered the costs of ministerial trips around the world for Saint Patrick's Day to be curtailed.

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen has ordered the costs of ministerial trips around the world for Saint Patrick's Day to be curtailed.

Mr Cowen will have the traditional exchange of the shamrock in the White House with President Obama, while 22 ministers and the Attorney General will depart for every corner of the globe.

But the Government insists they are on a marketing drive for tourism and creating jobs.

Unusually with the list this year is an explanation for each trip and the sales and marketing opportunities.

The Taoiseach has also ordered that unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise, first-class flights, limousines, hotel suites and VIP lounges are not to be used by ministers.

Mr Cowen and Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin will cover Washington DC, but other ministers are heading to New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Texas.

The UK, Europe and Soth Africa are also covered while Mary Harney heads to New Zealand, Billy Kelleher goes to Australia, Batt O'Keefe to Japan and South Korea and Eamon Ryan to India.

More in this section