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It cost over €12,000 to send Shane Ross to deal with Rio ticket controversy

Ross admitted on his return that Pat Hickey ‘ate him for breakfast’

Ross watching Annalise Murphy sailing in Rio
Ross watching Annalise Murphy sailing in Rio
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

THE DRAMA-FILLED trip by the Minister for Tourism and Sport Shane Ross and his Junior Minister to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics cost the taxpayer €12,201.

In total, the State has paid €21,470 to fly Minister Ross and his junior minister Patrick O’Donovan to international sporting events since last June.

In August 2016, Minister Ross flew out to Rio to meet with then-Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) chief Pat Hickey following the arrest of THG employee Kevin Mallon in the Olympic ticketing controversy.

Ross admitted on his return that Hickey ‘ate him for breakfast’ at their initial meeting where the Minister admitted to getting little information as to what was going on.

The Independent Alliance TD arrived in Rio on 14 August and three days later, Minister Ross famously tweeted ‘Shell shock here in Rio’ following the shock arrest of Hickey. Ross then cut his trip short to Rio to deal with the mounting controversy back in Dublin.

Revealing the costs of the trip in a written Dáil PQ to Deputy Alan Kelly, Ross confirmed that his four-night stay at the four-star Excelsior hotel in Rio cost €1,893.

A spokesman for the Department of Tourism and Sport said the €1,893 spend is the cost of the six-night trip that Minister Ross was booked in for but he returned after four nights.

PastedImage-91174 The lobby at the Excelsior hotel Source: Windsor Hotels

In addition, Ross’s return flights to Rio cost €7,098, which included a charge incurred for rescheduling of flights back early.

He added that there is a credit note of €2,893 from Air France resulting in the net cost of the flights totalling €4,205.

Ross also confirmed that the hotel costs for his junior colleague, Patrick O’Donovan in Rio cost €1,577 with his flight costs totalling €4,526.

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The tax-payer had to spend an additional €6,299 between flights costing €5,726 and hotel costs of €573 for Minister Donovan’s four night stay in Rio for the Paralympics in September.

The figures also show that the taxpayer spent an additional €1,532 for Ross to travel to Chicago for the historic win by the Irish rugby team over the All-Blacks in November.

In addition, €784 was spent on a flight for Ross to see Ireland beaten by Belgium during Euro 2016 in Bordeaux, while the flight costs of sending O’Donovan to see the Italy game in Lyon cost €654.

The government jet flew O’Donovan and others over to see Ireland’s opener against Sweden in Paris.

More:The tribunal is dead, long live the tribunal: Ireland’s messy love affair with ‘the truth’

Read: ‘She kept her head. She was going to take that medal home if it killed her’

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Gordon Deegan

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