Irish News

Tuesday 22 July 2014

No sparing Bertie's blusher in make-up budget

Tom Felle

Published 10/06/2005|00:11

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TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is spending more money than the average industrial wage on make-up, and it's all at the taxpayers' expense, figures compiled by the Irish Independent reveal.

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TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern is spending more money than the average industrial wage on make-up, and it's all at the taxpayers' expense, figures compiled by the Irish Independent reveal.

Mr Ahern has spent a staggering ?167,000 on looking good since becoming Taoiseach in 1997, including ?27,447 in the last year. Figures from his department reveal Mr Ahern is spending ?550 a week, almost double the minimum wage, on his appearance.

He has spent over ?70,000 on make-up since re-election in 2002. The figures for cosmetics from 1998 to 2002 stand at just over ?95,000. The two most senior female political figures, Tanaiste Mary Harney and President Mary McAleese, look after their own make-up costs. Taxpayers' money spent on Mr Ahern's appearance could have:

� Hired four extra nurses to alleviate overcrowding in accident and emergency departments.

� Hired three extra gardai to patrol the streets.

� Housed eight homeless people in sheltered accommodation.

� Paid for nursing home care for six elderly people for a year.

Mr Ahern's cosmetics bills are likely to include face and hand moisturisers, shine stopper and blushers, exfoliation products, eye care products, foundations, anti-blemish and anti-wrinkle creams. His bills may also include facemasks, massage oils and neck, facial and manicure treatments.

Mr Ahern's increasing age may lie behind the increased costs for last year. Quality of the products is likely to be at the upper end, although most of the outlay is for make-up artists' wages. Corporate image consultant Frances Jones, from Colour Me Beautiful in Dublin, said yesterday that Mr Ahern would get "an awful lot of treatments" for the amount he spends. "He needs to look authoritative and on top of his brief. He always dresses and is groomed very well. He probably has an image consultant because he wears cool colours like grey and navy suits, which suit him."

Ms Jones said it was clear Mr Ahern wore make-up not just on TV, but also regularly when in public. She said his make-up artists would use products to take down high colours, remove dark circles near the eyes, and hide redness, blemishes and wrinkles. "It would make him cool under pressure. It would also make him look younger, healthier, fitter, less tired and more successful."

Mr Ahern is not the only politician to wear make-up. Opposition party TDs and most male Cabinet members wear make-up on TV. A spokesman for the Taoiseach said last night that professional make-up artists were necessary. They had to be paid at Siptu rates - currently ?187 a day.

Since 1994 when the Dail was first televised the department has met Taoisigh's make-up costs. Since then this has been extended to cover photo shoots and other TV appearances.

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