THIS WEEK IT was it was revealed just how much this current government has spent on official photography since it took office last March.
The figure ran to over €100,000 in less than a year with the biggest spenders being the Department of Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs, the departments of the Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore respectively.
Their departments’ expenditure contrasts with that of Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin whose department spent the grand total of zero on official photography.
Here is the breakdown in full of what each department spent courtesy of figures made publicly available in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins:
(Note: you can click through the links for a more detailed breakdown of expenditure by each department)
The Department of Justice and Equality has spent €2,394.11 in total including over €600 on the launch of a visa waiver scheme last June. Justice Minister Alan Shatter said photographic services were only booked to “mark high profile events and when considered absolutely necessary”.
The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has spent €1,532 since Phil Hogan took office. This was for two events: Ireland Best Kept Towns ceremony which cost €932 and the Tidy Towns National Awards Ceremony which cost €600.
The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has spent €4,125.59 which included €1,052 on the launch of the Irish Anti Botnet Website – an anti-cyber crime initiative.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has spent €2,578 including nearly €600 on a Culture Night in Dublin. “At all times, value for money is a critical consideration in the context of the booking of photographers,” Minister Jimmy Deenihan said.
The Department of Social Protection has spent €2,134.51 in total including over €1,000 on the launch of the Job Bridge scheme last July. Minister Joan Burton said that photography services were used “to communicate my Department’s initiatives”.
The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has spent €2,031 including nearly €500 for photography on the occasion of the one millionth document being filed online at the Companies Registration Office. Minister Richard Bruton said his department “uses external photographers sparingly and selects from a number of photographic agencies on file.”
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has spent €0. “In relation to my Department there is no official policy set out around the booking of photographers. However as with all procurement, value for money would be a key factor in procuring photographic services should the need arise,” Minister Brendan Howlin said.
The Department of Education and Skills has spent €381.15 on photography. This expenditure came on the occasion of photographs being taken of a school project being submitted to the Royal Institute of Architects.
The Department of Finance has spent €1,109.67, all with Maxwell Photography which is frequently used by the government for events. This amount in Michael Noonan’s department includes €424 for a photo of former minister Brian Lenihan for the Minister’s conference in March, according to the disclosure.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has spent a total of €57,561.65 on photographic services including over €22,500 on the Queen’s State visit and nearly €570 for the official visit of an Indian minister.
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs contacted TheJournal.ie to say that in most cases images taken were provided free of charge to the media in situations where the department was not able to give them adequate access to events, as was the case with the Queen’s visit.
The Department of Taoiseach has spent €30,629.00 as was already disclosed earlier this month. The figures reveal that the Department almost always avails of the service provided by Maxwells Photography. They also detail €3,750 spent during the visit of Barack Obama and €212.96 on buying an image from the Getty photo agency.
The grand total: €104,476.68