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IDA chief runs up €45k travel bill in FDI drive

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Globe-trotter: IDA boss Martin Shanahan aims to boost FDI

Globe-trotter: IDA boss Martin Shanahan aims to boost FDI

Globe-trotter: IDA boss Martin Shanahan aims to boost FDI

The globe-trotting ceo of the IDA, Martin Shanahan, ran up a combined overseas hotel and flight bill last year of €45,137.

The €26,125 spend on flights and €19,012 spend on hotels arose as Mr Shanahan made multiple visits overseas as part of the IDA's remit of attracting inward investment from foreign companies.

Separate figures provided by Enterprise Ireland show that its own outgoing CEO, Julie Sinnamon, ran up a more modest combined overseas hotel and flight bill of €21,216.

The breakdown shows a spend of €13,957 on flights and hotel costs of €7,259.

In response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the IDA's FOI unit confirmed that Mr Shanahan's overseas destinations last year included San Francisco, New York City, Zurich, Mumbai, Istanbul, Berlin, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The IDA's total spend on flights last year amounted to €855,702, and overseas hotel bills totalled €300,783.

Enterprise Ireland's FOI unit said the organisation's flight costs last year totalled €1.32m and overall overseas hotel costs totalled €728,991.

According to the IDA's FOI unit, "the nature of IDA Ireland's business is international. FDI [foreign direct investment] is won in the market and as such necessitates extensive travel by IDA executives, including the CEO, throughout the year".

The response continues: "A central part of Martin Shanahan's role is to meet with the decision-makers in existing and potential client companies across the globe."

The unit also states: "These face-to-face meetings play a vital role in building strong business relationships with leading international companies in order to win investment to Ireland."

The response says that IDA Ireland has strict travel policies in place to govern travel by executives in line with public sector policies. It adds: "The approved class of travel is dependent on a number of factors, including the length of flight and intensity of itinerary at the destination country."

The IDA declined to provide a breakdown of Mr Shanahan's flight and hotel details, "as this could indicate the frequency and duration of the CEO's visits to overseas locations and would be commercially sensitive to IDA Ireland, as we are competing for FDI in a global market".

The FOI division stated: "This information could also adversely impact the financial and economic interests of the State if it was released, as it would indicate locations of IDA focus when attracting and expanding FDI in the State."

Enterprise Ireland placed no such restriction on the information released concerning Ms Sinnamon.

The costliest overseas venture for Ms Sinnamon was a trade mission to New Zealand, where the cumulative cost of eight flights came to €6,589 and where hotel costs totalled €1,683.

Irish Independent