Overseas aid staff spend €500k on travel in Ireland
THE State has forked out almost €500,000 sending staff from Ireland's overseas aid agency back and forth between offices in Dublin and Limerick over the past three years.
The latest figures, released to the Irish Independent, show €125,784 was spent in 2013 on hotel stays, travel costs, meals and other expenses for officials who travelled to the capital for meetings last year.
A total of 504 expense claims were submitted last year by officials from Irish Aid, the State's charitable arm for developing countries. The cost is down on the €170,000 bill for 2011 and €195,000 spent in 2012, when the agency was preparing for Ireland's hosting of the EU Presidency.
However, last year's spend now means almost half a million euro has been spent in the last three years since the Irish Aid offices were relocated to Limerick in 2007 as part of the controversial decentralisation programme at the time.
Last year €54,587 was spent on providing meals for staff who travelled to Dublin, with another €20,308 spent accommodating officials in hotels.
And €30,722 was forked out for train tickets and €14,540 was spent on mileage. Only €878 was claimed by staff who took the bus to Dublin. Another €1,714 was spent on tolls and parking. A spokesperson said video conferences were used where possible with over 800 taking place in 2013.