Cowen stays at Farmleigh more often
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen stays in the guest house in Farmleigh about two nights a week.
The Steward's House at Farmleigh in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, is also used to accommodate visiting State guests.
But it serves as Mr Cowen's residence on nights when he doesn't return to his home in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
Before becoming Taoiseach, he used to spend some weeknights in his apartment in nearby Kilmainham. But security doesn't allow him to stay there anymore.
So far this year, Mr Cowen stayed in the Steward's House on 51 nights -- usually on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, when the Dail was sitting late or he had meetings in Dublin. By comparison, the Dail has sat, so far this year, for 65 days.
The house was not needed on these nights for visiting dignatories.
Normally, Mr Cowen would leave Government Buildings after midnight and return there early in the morning. He would stay in Farmleigh rather than travel by car to his home in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
The guest house is constantly available for use, even at short notice, so the costs associated with his stays are difficult to establish.
The Steward's House cost €600,000 to renovate and has been open for use since June 2006.
It belongs to the Farmleigh estate and came as part of the deal for the purchase of Farmleigh by the State, in 1999.
The guest house costs are covered from the overall OPW budget for the Farmleigh estate, which runs to around €3m per annum.
When Mr Cowen became Taoiseach, there was a great deal of speculation about the Steward's House becoming his permanent Dublin residence.