PAMELA DUNCAN
Irish Times
3 Apr 2012

**Ahh, it’s always pleasant to jet off into the sun on a state-paid holiday, leaving the annoying peasants behind you to deal with your AUSTERITY schemes hey? Wankers.

THE COST of sending Ministers away for St Patrick’s Day this year has been just under €120,000 to date, although not all expenses have been claimed yet.

Flying Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the US on the Government Gulfstream jet cost €66,325, a cost borne by the Department of Defence. A spokesman for the Department of the Taoiseach said yesterday that full expenses for the trip were not yet available.

A trip by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and four officials to Canada cost €8,466 including flights, accommodation and car and driver hire. However final costs were not yet available.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and one official incurred flight costs of €978 in their trip to Paris, where they stayed in the Irish Ambassador’s residence.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and his private secretary incurred costs of €11,368 in travelling to Australia and New Zealand.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton said she and one official spent €1,624 on flights to New York, but said details of accommodation and other costs were not yet available.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald incurred €1,415 in flight costs to Boston, although not all invoices have yet been processed.

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney was accompanied by his private secretary to Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Brussels, at a cost of €2,070. This figure excludes subsistence costs that have not yet been processed.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte, who visited Italy with his private secretary and special adviser, said the delegation incurred €1,390 in costs to date.

Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin said the only cost incurred by him and two officials in visiting Singapore was in flight costs which totalled €7,035.

Minister of State Ciarán Cannon travelled to China leading an education mission at a cost to date of €11,449, including flights and official gifts. Hotel, travel, subsistence, internal flights and car hire have yet to be charged.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and his private secretary travelled to San Francisco, incurring flight costs of €2,217. While their accommodation was borne by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA, subsistence costs have to be paid.

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State Paul Kehoe visited Irish troops serving in Lebanon accompanied by two officials from the Department of Defence at a cost of €3,745.

Travel and accommodation costs of Minister of State John Perry and his private secretary, who visited Finland and Sweden, were borne by Enterprise Ireland apart from one night spent in the Irish Ambassador’s residence.

Costs are not yet available for trips by Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan, who visited New Orleans and Atlanta, and Minister of State Dinny McGinley, who visited Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The cost of the trip by Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar and his private secretary to Birmingham and London was €867, while Minister of State Michael Ring’s trip to Birmingham cost €529.

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