Friday 26 December 2014

Gilmore tops list of spending on photographs

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney's department is surprise big spender in third place

Published 16/02/2014 | 02:30

Eamon Gilmore and the Queen and Prince Phillip on the Royal visit to Ireland

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore may have secured the unenviable reputation of being the 'Invisible man' of the Cabinet, but his Department of Foreign Affairs has spent more than any other on photographs since this Government was formed.

New figures reveal that the Department of Foreign Affairs has chalked up a bill of €119,284.80 on photography in the past three years.

Appropriately, the most modest spender of all was Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, who has spent only a parsimonious €1,020.62 on photography.

The costs are revealed in a series of Dail questions by the Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins on the "total photography costs" of all Government departments.

A somewhat defensive reply informed Mr Collins that "a significant number" of major State events, such as the State visit by Queen Elizabeth II, the visit by US President Barack Obama and the EU presidency had occurred during the period.

Enda Kenny's Department, at €86,468, was the second-highest spender on a variety of events, which ranged from the EU Presidency to the visit of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, the Taoiseach's Christmas media greeting in 2011 and the spending of €111.95 on "prints of the Taoiseach's Time Magazine cover".

Mr Kenny's department noted that spending on photography, if the EU Presidency costs were stripped out, was a lowly €4,898 and compared this level of expenditure with years such as 2008, when €83,398 was spent.

Mr Collins highlighted the revelation that Simon Coveney's Department of Agriculture was the third-highest spender.

"I am surprised that Simon Coveney has the bronze medal for spending," he said.

Expenditure of €32,034 by the Department of Agriculture was some distance ahead of the remaining government departments.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte is the fourth-highest spender with a humble €10,832.41, just ahead of Richard Bruton, who spent €10,203.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter's Department incurred costs of €10,145, while his other department, Defence, spent a further €1,359.52.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald spent €10,198.95 whilst two of the lowest spends came from Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan, €9,209.55 and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton on €8,861.

Three of the most bashful ministers were Education Minister Ruairi Quinn (€1,569.59) Health Minister James Reilly (€1,548.48) and Finance Minister Michael Noonan (€1,257.27).

HIGH SPENDERS:

1. Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Amount: €119,284. Reason: photos with Queen and President Obama

2. Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Amount €119,284.80 (includes €111.95 spent on prints of the Taoiseach's Time Magazine cover).

3. Simon Coveney

Amount: €32,034.

Reason: surprise winner of the bronze medal.

MODEST SPENDERS:

1. Brendan Howlin, Public Expenditure €1,020.62

2. Michael Noonan Finance €1,257.27

3. James Reilly, Health €1548.48.

Sunday Independent

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