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Government spent €132k on 'entertainment' last year

Two-thirds of the spending came from the Department of Foreign Affairs, incurred for the visits of the Queen and Obama.

Spending on the visit of the Queen and Barack Obama accounted for most of the government's entertainment spending last year.
Spending on the visit of the Queen and Barack Obama accounted for most of the government's entertainment spending last year.
Image: John Stillwell/PA Archive

GOVERNMENT MINISTERS and senior officials in their department ran up bills of almost €132,000 last year on entertainment, new records have shown.

Details published by each individual minister show that the Department of Foreign Affairs had by far the highest bill of any department, spending over €95,000 on entertainment since the new government took office.

That spending is attributed to the costs of hosting the visits of Queen Elizabeth and Barack Obama last year. The Department’s International Co-operation arm spent a further €8,285.

‘Entertainment’ spending usually relates to spending on guests, most prominently from visiting international delegations, but also includes hosting receptions for attendees at conferences.

The overall government bill is significantly down on the expenses incurred in previous years.

The highest-spending individual minister was junior education minister Ciarán Cannon, who ran up entertainment bills of €2,864. Ruairí Quinn, the senior minister in the same department, was next at €2,247.12.

Environment minister Phil Hogan was next, incurring €1,830.35 on entertainment spending, while officials in his department spent another €2,609.68 – around €1,000 of which related to the spending on the visit of Prince Albert of Monaco last year.

Social protection minister Joan Burton spent €1,698 on entertainment, while another €1,856 was spent by the Department and its senior officials.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny had no entertainment spending at all, nor did junior EU affairs minister Lucinda Creighton, who is based in his Department. Government chief whip Paul Kehoe ran costs of €130, while the Department of the Taoiseach itself ran up costs of €736.

In two cases – Transport and Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht – there were no entertainment expenses incurred by any ministers or officials at all.

The figures were supplied by ministers in response to Dáil questions from Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald.

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Gavan Reilly

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