€1.4m taxpayer bill to tend to Áras an Uachtaráin's 'extensive' grounds
The taxpayer has paid more than €1.4m to maintain the gardens, grounds and buildings at the home of President Michael D Higgins, it can be revealed.
Figures produced for the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) by the Office of Public Works show the significant costs in the upkeep of Áras an Uachtaráin, located in the Phoenix Park.
Correspondence to PAC, seen by the Irish Independent, shows that the OPW has spent around €500,000 a year since 2012 to ensure the grounds and property are properly maintained.
Detailed figures show that in 2012, the year President Higgins took office, the cost of maintaining the Áras and its grounds was €463,000. That figure increased to €522,000 in 2013 and €445,000 in 2014.
According to the correspondence, the annual costs incurred by the OPW on the maintenance of Áras an Uachtaráin included the upkeep of the main house, ancillary buildings and the extensive gardens and grounds.
President and Sabina Higgins took a great interest in the gardens and have introduced new Irish varieties of organic vegetables. The flower garden has been planted with a selection of award-winning dahlias.
Áras an Uachtaráin is set amid 130 acres of parkland and gardens dating back to the construction of the house in 1751.