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Budget 2011 hits ministerial planes, (cranes) and automobiles

Pooling the Mercs and dropping the Learjet: the Government find themselves transported to a new era of getting around.

Ministers and former taoisigh may not be reduced to hitchhiking - but they may have to pool cars and share the one remaining Government jet
Ministers and former taoisigh may not be reduced to hitchhiking - but they may have to pool cars and share the one remaining Government jet

DOWN TO ONE private jet and car sharing – ministers and former Government big wigs are going to be finding new ways around town.

The Government currently has two jets on the go – a Learjet and a Gulfstream – but one of these was predicted to be decommissioned in Budget 2011. As it turns out, the Gulfstream jet will not be decommissioned but it is near the end of its operational lifespan and it will not be replaced.

Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton criticised Government ministers of using the jets as a “personal taxi service” earlier this year when details of their use emerged. The Government also had a Beech Craft jet at its disposal but that has been out of service for some time.

The cost of State cars is also to be reduced by a third over the next two years. Cars used by former taoisigh and presidents will be pooled, reducing the number of gardai assigned to driving them around. As the cars are replaced, the engine size will be limited to 2-litre engines or less to cut costs.

There was no word in the Budget on whether ministerial use of cranes or cherry-pickers in the vicinity of Government buildings would face levies or curtailments.

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