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Here's how much Princes Charles' visit to Ireland cost the taxpayer

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall paid us a visit in May.

HRHmeetsPresHiggins03 (L-R) Prince Charles, President Higgins, Lady Camilla, Sabina Higgins at Lough Cutra Castle, Co Galway. Source: Chris Bellew/Fennells

THE RECENT VISIT of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla to Ireland cost us at least €24,571 according to records obtained by TheJournal.ie.

Some 83% of that, €20,455, went on car hire to transport the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall between Dublin, Galway, Clare and Sligo from 19-21 May.

The records, obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act, show the following breakdown of costs:

  • Transport – €20,455 paid to two car rental companies
  • Accommodation – €3,582 on departmental staff. The British delegation paid for their own.
  • Printing – €534

Some other costs – staff overtime, subsistence allowances, and official photography – haven’t been calculated by the department yet.

The lion’s share of the trip’s cost went on car hire with Devine’s Chauffeur Services and Optimum Chauffeur Drive, who were paid €18,308 and €2,147 respectively, for their services.

Printing was performed by Dublin-based Prontaprint, who were paid €534 for their services.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said transport services for Prince Charles’ visit were “allocated on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender,” and that the British delegation covered the cost of hospitality.

They also noted that the trip “added to the international profile of the west of Ireland, in particular the Wild Atlantic Way,” and that it was widely reported by the media in Britain, “our largest overseas tourism market.”

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During their three-day trip, Charles and Camilla visited several sites in Galway, Clare, and Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, where the IRA murdered Lord Mountbatten – Charles’ great-uncle – in 1979.

At an event in Galway, the heir to the British throne shared a historic handshake with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams, and held a private conversation with Adams and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The cost of hosting the Royal Family apparently pales in comparison to what it costs British taxpayers to send them around the world.

The annual report of the Sovereign Grant, published just this week, found that official overseas travel cost £5.1 million (€7.18 million) in the last year.

The figures only cover the period up to 31 March 2015, so we don’t know what the British expenses were for Charles and Camilla’s trip to Ireland.

However, the annual audit states that the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall racked up a bill of £686,000 (€965,280) over two visits to Mexico and Colombia and the United States.

Prince Charles’ solo trip to the Middle East cost £262,000 (€368,660), and Prince Harry’s visit to Brazil and Chile during last summer’s World Cup cost £86,000 (€121,000).

You can read the Department’s FOI response in full below, or by clicking here.
http://cdn.thejournal.ie/media/2015/06/thejournal_ieprince_charles_foi.pdf

Read: Gerry Adams and Prince Charles just shared a historic handshake>

Read: “The grandfather I never had…” Prince Charles visits site of attack on Lord Mountbatten>

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About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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