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Here are the gifts Ireland dished out to foreign dignitaries last year

Crystal bowls feature heavily.

shutterstock_68136415 (1) Crystal bowls feature heavily Source: Shutterstock/humbak

FOREIGN DIGNITARIES WHO are planning on paying a visit to Ireland will be pleased to know that they probably won’t leave empty handed.

We don’t let ourselves down in the gift giving department.

Over the past 13 months the government we have dished out a selection of Celtic-themed finery to a range of high-profile names coming in from overseas.

Through information released under the Freedom of Information Act TheJournal.ie can reveal exactly who got what and how much it cost the taxpayer.

Who got what? 

Paul Ryan – US Congressman

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan made the trip back in March and got a set of oval Celtic knot design cufflinks that cost €55.

The Republican politician was Mitt Romney’s running mate when he contested the US Presidential election in 2012 and has strong Irish roots, having previously spoken about his family moving to the United States during the famine.

Congress Guantanamo Source: AP/Press Association Images

Manuel Valls – French Prime Minister 

Back in April French PM Manuel Valls paid us a visit, and for his trouble he got a large (23cm) engraved crystal bowl that cost €67.65. 

During his visit, which coincided with the European crisis over the Greek economy, Valls praised Ireland for its economic recovery. 

France Paris Attacks Source: AP/Press Association Images

Li Keqiang – Chinese Premier 

Premier Li made a two-day visit to Ireland in May of this year with the aim of strengthening tourism and trade links between Ireland and China.

Greasing the cogs, him and his wife were presented with a pretty impressive stash. He was presented with a Children of Life Sculpture that came to €199.95 and the book Tales of Old Ireland which came to €15.80.

China AIIB Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Source: Mark Schiefelbein/PA Wire

His wife Cheng Hong – an English professor at the Capital University of Economic and Business in Beijing – was presented with a special volume of the Yeats Poetry Collection, which came to €100. 

Malaysia ASEAN Chinese Premier Li Keqiang with his wife Cheng Hong Source: AP/Press Association Images

Ban Ki-moon – UN Secretary-General 

Back in May UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid us a visit, picking up his award at the Tipperary Peace Convention.

And that wasn’t all he got.

The South Korean dignitary also left with a bronze Children of Lir sculpture. Unlike French PM’s Manuel Valls statue, Ban’s one had an engraved base and cost a little bit less at €155.94. 

Mideast United Arab Emirates UN United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Source: AP/Press Association Images

Dr Ali Larjani – Iranian philosopher and chairman of the Parliament of Iran

Highly-respected Iranian statesman Ali Larjani visited back in June.

During his visit he met with Irish officials, with whom he spoke about Iran’s nuclear programme.

During his visit he got a 12.5cm engraved bowl that cost the taxpayer €16.26. 

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al largiani Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani Source: Wikicommons

Joachim Gauck – President of Germany

German President Joachim Gauck was on these shores back in July. During his visit he was present at a human rights roundtable with Michael D Higgins and also laid a wreath in the Garden of Remembrance.

For his troubles he received a large crystal engraved bowl that came to €67.65.  

Nigeria Germany President German president Joachim Gauck Source: AP Photo

Narendra Modi – Prime Minister of India

Another crystal bowl.

That’s what Indian PM Narendra Modi got when he stopped by last September. During the historic visit – the first by and Indian head of state for more than 50 years – he met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny  and spoke with members of the Indian-Irish community.  

The bowl he received came adjourned with a harp logo and cost €49.95.

Russia India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Source: AP/Press Association Images

How much did this cost us in total? 

So, here is what we’ve spent since January last year:

  • Congressman Paul Ryan (USA) €55.00
  • Prime Minister Valls (France) €67.65
  • Premier Li Kwqiang (China) €215.75 
  • Prof. Cheng Hong [Mrs] (China) €100.00
  • Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General. €155.94
  • Dr. Ali Ardeshir Largiani Speaker Iranian Consultative Assembley €16.26
  • President Joachim Gauck (Germany) €67.65
  • Prime Minister Modi (India) €49.95

Which gives us a grand total of €728.20 worth of gifts given out.

Read: How well do you remember these sporting Christmas presents?

Also: Is this still the most economically depressed town in Ireland?

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