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Micheál Martin clocked up a big bill for air travel when he was minister for health. PA Wire/PA Images
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Micheál says he won't use the government jet to fly back home to Cork if he becomes Taoiseach

Martin said ministers do need to travel abroad from time-to-time.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said he would not use the government jet to travel between Dublin and his home in Cork. 

Martin accumulated a bill of €30,000 on commercial flights for journeys between his constituency in Cork and Dublin while he was Minister for Health, the Sunday Independent revealed in 2014.

The figures showed the taxpayer paid for 266 flights for Martin to travel between Cork and Dublin during his tenure at the Department of Health. 

When asked if he would use the government jet if he becomes Taoiseach to jet back and forth to Cork, he said: 

“No, obviously not.”

He told reporters that it was a much “different world” back in the 2000s when he was minister. 

“I’m not going to go into details of that in terms of getting around the country and so on,” he added. 

“I was was a very active minister and no one can take that from me,” said Martin. 

In terms of the government jet, the Fianna Fáil leader said he welcomed the move that departments are now carbon taxed on their air travel. 

Government departments have been ordered to calculate and record the value of their carbon emissions every time their officials use air transport.

Since 1 January, officials have been required to value the carbon emissions at €26 per tonne – the current rate of the carbon tax.

Government ministers “have to get to meetings”, said Martin, who added: ” I am not going to pretend they don’t have to get to meetings, but they have to get to them in an efficient way.”

It was recently reported that it cost more than €786,000 to send Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other ministers around the world in private aircraft last year.

When asked about what his party would do to tackle climate change, the Fianna Fáil leader said he wants to change the mandate of semi-State bodies such as Coillte and Bord na Móna. 

In a previous interview with TheJournal.ie, Martin said he wanted to change the role of the two organisations so they could drive forward the country’s approach to the challenge of climate change’.   

Forestation is another issue Martin believes the government has failed dismally on, stating that farmers should be incentivised to grow native trees across their ditches and farms. 

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