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Just 11 heads of state have stayed in Farmleigh in four and a half years

The estate in the Phoenix Park has cost the state €39million in operational costs since 2001.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

QUEEN ELIZABETH II, Prince Albert II of Monaco, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas lead a list of foreign dignitaries who have availed of the hospitality at Farmleigh.

They are also nearly a half of the list.

A list released earlier this week by Minister of State for the Office of Public Works (OPW) Brian Hayes show that, since 2008, just 13 visits have been made to the house, with two by European top brass.

The Prime Minister of Vietnam, Tanzania and Macedonia, the Presidents of Estonia, the Czech Republic and Timor-Leste and the King of Lesotho were the other heads of state, while the then-President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso stayed in 2008 and Jerzy Buzek, then President of the European Parliament stayed in 2011.

Since 2001, there have been 40 visits by foreign dignitaries including ex-US President Jimmy Carter and deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

The State bought the 78-acre site in the Phoenix Park in 1999 for €29.2 million from the Guinness family. Aside from hosting dignitaries, the house is used as a public amenity and had over 375,000 visitors last year.

Farmleigh, which was was mooted as a potential residence for the Taoiseach, also hosts high-level events, with 2,297 attending 39 such get-togethers in 2012.

Overall, Hayes revealed that since 2001 the estate has cost €39million in operational costs. That figure includes a high in 2001 of €5.9million, compared to €2.9million last year.

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