Thursday 23 November 2017

US shells out almost €200k on hotels and car hire for Michelle Obama's Irish visit

Michelle, Sasha and Malia listening to tour guide George McClafferty during their visit to Glendalough
Michelle, Sasha and Malia listening to tour guide George McClafferty during their visit to Glendalough
Michelle, Sasha and Malia in the library at Trinity College
The beautiful surroundings of Glendalough, the jewel in Wicklow's tourism crown.
Barman Conor Galvin at Finnegan's in Dalkey, Co Dublin, where the Obamas had lunch
Michelle Obama and her daughters, Sasha and Malia, during their visit to Ireland last week. Picture: Garry O'Neill.
First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia with Glendalough tour guide George McClafferty at St Kevin's Monastic city in Glendalough, Co Wicklow. Picture: Garry O'Neill
US First Lady Michelle Obama and her two daughters Malia Ann (right) and Sasha listen to Head Tour Guide George McClafferty explain about the historically important monastic site of Glendalough, Co Wicklow while he sits on the ancient Deer Stones with St. Kevin's Church and the Round Tower in the background. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday June 18, 2013. See PA story POLITICS G8 Michelle. Photo credit should read: Julien Behal/PA Wire
Glendalough Tour guide George McClafferty talks to theFirst Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia about fable of the Deer Stone, during the Obama family tour of the Glendalough Monastic site in the Wicklow mountains National park yesterday
Michelle Obama with her daughters Malia and Sasha at Glendalough
Michelle Obama and her daughters Malia and Sasha leave the Shelbourne Hotel en route to Glendalough, Wicklow.

John Breslin

A CO Wicklow car hire service was paid $114,000 to ferry around the US First Lady, her two daughters and entourage during a short visit to Dublin last June.

Michelle Obama travelled to Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains, while President Obama was in Co Fermanagh for the G8 summit.

Documents released under the Freedom of Information reveal the total cost for the overnight visit to be over $250,000 (€180,500) - with $114,000 (€82,200) spent on car hire.

The documents were released after a watchdog group, Judicial Watch, launched a legal action for the information.

Flight costs to move the President, Mrs Obama and the White House team from the US to and around Ireland came to $7.6m (€5.5m).

As President Obama headed to the G8 on the shores of Lough Erne, Mrs Obama and her two children, Sasha and Malia flew to Dublin on Monday June 17.

Dozens of rooms at the Shelbourne and Westbury Hotels were booked. The documents reveal the bill for the Shelbourne was just over $70,000 (€50,500), the Westbury, $53,425 (€38,560).

JP Ward and Sons of Bray was given the job of ferrying them and their entourage around Dublin and Wicklow on the Monday, at a total cost of $114,721 (€82,200).

They visited Trinity College, met with staff at the US Embassy, then attended a special performance of Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre.

On Tuesday, they had lunch in Finnegan's of Dalkey and spent time in the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

Irish Independent

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