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State spends nearly €1m on Dáil centenary celebrations

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Presidential address: Michael D Higgins speaks at the commemoration of the centenary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann. Photo: PA

Presidential address: Michael D Higgins speaks at the commemoration of the centenary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann. Photo: PA

Presidential address: Michael D Higgins speaks at the commemoration of the centenary of the first meeting of Dáil Éireann. Photo: PA

Over €930,000 has been spent on commemorations and events for the centenary of the first sitting of Dáil Éireann this year.

This included €16,500 on VIP services at Dublin Airport, almost €20,000 in accommodation at two of Dublin's finest hotels, €200 for a harpist, and just over €10,000 for 5,000 Dáil-branded hats for the event.

Details of the €934,000 spend were released following a Freedom of Information request, with the Oireachtas saying the anniversary had been one of the key commemorative events in the Decade of Centenaries programme.

As part of the celebrations, they invited speakers and chairpersons from all EU member state parliaments and from the US.

In total, 31 "overseas parliamentarians" along with 44 support staff travelled to Ireland with €7,708 spent on "local transport costs" for car and bus hire.

An accommodation bill of just under €20,000 was run up at hotels, including €13,030 at the five-star Westin Hotel and €6,968 at the four-star Davenport Hotel.

Another €16,567 was paid out for "fast-track airport reception" and other VIP facilities at Dublin Airport.

Entertainment costs came to just over €9,000 with €200 spent on a harpist to entertain the visiting politicians and €8,898 on catering for a dinner hosted in Leinster House.

An itinerary for their trip shows the visitors were taken on a tour of Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the university's famous library, and also to the Guinness Storehouse. Another €228 was spent on "Irish confectionery" with a further €228 paid out for photography.

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