Sports Council duo jet off to Poland, all expenses paid
THE Irish Sports Council is sending two of its bosses on an all-expenses-paid junket to Poland for Ireland's last match in the Euro 2012 Championship, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
Chairman Kieran Mulvey and chief executive John Treacy are jetting out to join the Boys in Green in Poznan today, ahead of their final game against Italy.
They will be the only taxpayer-funded football fans in Poznan tomorrow as Sports Minister Leo Varadkar, who is attending the game in an official capacity, has paid for his own accommodation and flights.
Even though the costs of the trip came out of his own pocket, Mr Varadkar also met Poland's transport minister.
Asked whether the Sports Council delegates would attend any official engagements while in Poznan, a spokesman said they would not be attending "minuted meetings" but that they would meet people at the match.
The Government was represented at the game against Spain by the Junior Minister for Sports and Tourism, Michael Ring, who watched Ireland lose 4-0 on Thursday night in Gdansk.
Flights for the Sports Council chiefs' State-funded trip to Poland cost €1,019 and their rooms in the five-star City Park Hotel and Residence come to €680 for their two-night stay.
The hotel's website claims that it is the "first high-class residence in Poznan", while rooms are said to feature "a spacious bathing lounge" that will "meet the expectations of our most demanding guests".
The Sports Council recently announced a huge €2.5m cut in funding for sporting organisations that are already struggling to keep their dressing rooms heated.
The Football Association of Ireland had its grant reduced by 10 per cent. Meanwhile, Olympic boxer Katie Taylor was forced to look to a generous private donor in order to have a toilet and shower installed in her gym.
Mr Mulvey is also the chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission and was paid a €176,934 salary, along with €11,828 travel and subsistence expenses, according to the State body's 2010 annual report.
He was also paid €2,619 in board member fees by the Sports Council, while Mr Treacy's current chief executive salary is €110,000.
In June last year, Mr Mulvey and Mr Treacy flew to Greece to attend the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Accommodation for the Sports Council representatives was paid for by their hosts, as was the chairman's travel costs. However, Mr Treacy's flight to Greece cost €655.
The pair will share accreditation for the London 2012 Olympics, with Mr Mulvey attending the first week and Mr Treacy the second.
A spokesman for the Sports Council said he did not think it was "unreasonable" for the sports body to send two representatives to the Euro 2012 championship.