Simon Coveney's €200k state car points to 'shambolic Government', says Sinn Féin

Simon Coveney's €200k state car points to 'shambolic Government', says Sinn Féin
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has previously said he needs a state car for security reasons as he travels to the North frequently. Picture: Collins

The Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has said Simon Coveney should not have a state car and driver at a cost of €200,000 per year.

The Foreign Affairs Minister has previously said he needs them for security reasons as he travels to the North frequently.

The Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Justice Minister are meant to be the only officials allowed a State car and garda driver.

A Government spokesperson has confirmed that Leo Varadkar requested the change in his final days as Taoiseach.

His successor Micheál Martin has said the decision was taken on security grounds and said he was “not getting involved in any security appraisal.”

Ms McDonald said Mr Coveney, who is no longer the Tánaiste, should not have access to them.

She said: "It seems that the former Taoiseach, now the Tánaiste, made the running on it. It seems the current Taoiseach and future Tánaiste was left in the dark on it.

"So, you might regard it as a storm in a teacup, although it's public money so that makes it a serious issue, but I think it points again to the fact that this is a very disorganised, very chaotic, very shambolic Government."

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has an important job to do but it does not require a car and a driver at the cost of €200,000 per annum.

She said ministers only need protection when they are facing a “direct threat or menace.” 

“That applies to every citizen and everybody on public duty including the Minister for Foreign Affairs – but that is not the case as I understand it,” she said.

“I am not disputing the fact that the man might need a driver, that is fair enough, but that could be provided, I would suggest, from Fine Gael party resources.

“I think that resource is the kind of resource you should use to provide the kind of assistance that a busy person like the minister would require.”

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