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Joan does Patrick's Day on cheap -- at just €468

THE bill for Social Protection Minister Joan Burton's St Patrick's Day trip to London came to a grand total of €468.

The minister and her private secretary had no accommodation costs, no car-hire costs and no expenses during their three-day trip to London.

Instead, the taxpayer simply had to foot the cost of their economy flights, which came to €468.66.

Ms Burton is the fourth member of the Government to voluntarily publish details of her trip within two weeks of St Patrick's Day. There has been a drive to cut the costs of the trips this year, with only eight ministers travelling abroad.

Previously, the junkets were costing taxpayers upwards of €500,000 but this year's trips are expected to cost just a fraction of this.

Ms Burton opted to stay in embassies and the official residences of Irish ambassadors.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald; Education Minister Ruairi Quinn; and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney also shunned hotels in favour of embassy accommodation.

Irish Independent