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At least €2.2m spent on government dept taxis since 2007

The Department of Foreign Affairs has racked up the largest bill… €1.2 million since 2008.

A SERIES OF parliamentary questions have revealed that in excess of €2 million has been spent by government departments on taxi journeys since 2007.

In response to parliamentary questions by Senator Shane Ross a number of departments have revealed their taxi bills, some going back to 2007.

The largest bill has been racked up by the Department of Foreign Affairs, with €1.2 million in taxi journeys since 2008.

In response to the senator’s question the Minster for Foreign Affairs said that the Department’s current policy dictates that taxis may only be used for official business and when public transport is not available or feasible. Taxis are also permitted for officers who work early in the morning or late at night.

Gilmore also said that the costs relating to taxis are monitored on a monthly basis and that the official taxi service is only for use by Department staff. The taxi bill for this department, and others, includes those used outside of Ireland.

It was also revealed that a total of €10,710 was spent on taxis by the Department of Finance so far this year, with Minister Michael Noonan explaining that taxis should only be used for official business.

When it comes to the Department of Education the Minister revealed that €237,593 has been spent on taxis there between 2007 and 2010. Ruairí Quinn said that the use of a taxi is only permitted if the number of people travelling makes it cheaper than public transport, if there’s no public transport available or if it’s not practical to use public transport.

Records for expenditure on taxis for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform are only available from April of this year, and show that €2,991 has been spent so far. The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation has spent €109,821 on taxis since 2008 to date, while between June and August this year the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has spent €3,605 on taxi travel.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton explained that taxis are used to move people and equipment between the department’s six offices around the city. Staff are also permitted to use taxis during unsociable hours, where it is not practical to use public transport, and where there is a likelihood of missing a flight.

The Department of Social Protection has spent €174,123 on taxi travel since 2007. As with many of the other departments the amount spent on a year-on-year basis has decreased significantly; from €48,011 in 2007 to €28,511 in 2010.

The taxi bill for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources comes to €148,742 from 2008 to August 2011. Minister Pat Rabbitte explained that his department has implemented an initiative whereby a number of bicycles are available for staff for travel between offices during office hours.

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government meanwhile has presented a bill of €126,705 for taxis between 2008 and August 2011. The bill for the Department of Justice was €173,447 for the same time period, while for the Department of Defence it was €85,514. Agriculture, Fisheries and Food shelled out almost €300,000 between 2007 and August 2011, while to date the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has spent €708.

Between 2008 and August 2011 the Department of Health spent €34,982 on taxis, while the Department of Transport has spent €94,170 between 2007 and 2010.

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