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Thursday 28 August 2014

US shells out almost €200k on hotels and car hire for Michelle Obama's Irish visit

John Breslin

Published 10/04/2014 | 08:08

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Michelle, Sasha and Malia listening to tour guide George McClafferty during their visit to Glendalough
Michelle, Sasha and Malia in the library at Trinity College

A CO Wicklow car hire service was paid $114,000 to ferry around the US First Lady, her two daughters and entourage during a short visit to Dublin last June.

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Michelle Obama travelled to Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains, while President Obama was in Co Fermanagh for the G8 summit.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information reveal the total cost for the overnight visit to be over $250,000 (€180,500) - with $114,000 (€82,200) spent on car hire.

The documents were released after a watchdog group, Judicial Watch, launched a legal action for the information.

Flight costs to move the President, Mrs Obama and the White House team from the US to and around Ireland came to $7.6m (€5.5m).

As President Obama headed to the G8 on the shores of Lough Erne, Mrs Obama and her two children, Sasha and Malia flew to Dublin on Monday June 17.

Dozens of rooms at the Shelbourne and Westbury Hotels were booked. The documents reveal the bill for the Shelbourne was just over $70,000 (€50,500), the Westbury, $53,425 (€38,560).

JP Ward and Sons of Bray was given the job of ferrying them and their entourage around Dublin and Wicklow on the Monday, at a total cost of $114,721 (€82,200).

They visited Trinity College, met with staff at the US Embassy, then attended a special performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre.

On Tuesday, they had lunch in Finnegan's of Dalkey and spent time in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

Irish Independent

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