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Caitlin and Dawn part of council's hefty bill for hotels in city

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DUBLIN City Council has spent over €384,000 on hotel accommodation in the first three months of the year – the equivalent of over €4,000 per day.

Almost all (€377,235) went on accommodation for homeless people.

But hotel bills have been paid for guests of the city, including author and TV presenter Dawn O'Porter and writer Caitlin Moran.

Some hotel bills of over €200 per night are being charged to the council for guests invited for official engagements.

Authors, literary experts and historians are among those who have stayed in some of the city's most well known hotels at the taxpayer's expense.

More than €384,408 was spent on hotel accommodation in the first three months of 2013, according to figures obtained by the Herald.

Most relates to hotel rooms provided to people in the form of emergency accommodation.

The council is required to ensure that city residents who become homeless are offered temporary accommodation in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. Some €377,235 was spent by the homeless section on hotels between January-April, according to documents released under The Freedom of Information Act.

This compares to the €455,736 spent on hotels for emergency purposes in 2012, and just €176,721 in 2011.

However, the documents also reveal how guests of the council – who travel to Dublin for official engagements – are being put up in some of the city's most popular hotels.

Four-star hotels such as the Radisson, The Dylan Hotel, The Westbury and Stephen's Green Hotel have all provided accommodation to council guests.

Some of the best-known guests include the wife of Chris O'Dowd, Dawn O'Porter, and renowned feminist Caitlin Moran.

Ms O'Porter was in the capital in May for the Dublin's Writers Festival and stayed for one night in the Dylan Hotel at a rate of €155.

Ms Moran's bill came to €259, according to the figures supplied by Dublin City Council.

The largest individual bill this year related to a stay was by award-winning British author Clive Sinclair at the Westbury hotel last month.

Authors

Mr Sinclair stayed there for three nights at a cost of €951.85. He was one of several authors invited by the council's culture department in order to judge the Impac Dublin Literary Award.

Krista Kaer, who also judged the event, was charged €700 for a four-night stay at the hotel.

Almost €28,000 has been spent on hotel accommodation for council guests since 2011.

American artist Judy Chicago and the City Manager of San Jose, Debra Figone, have also stayed in Dublin hotels paid for by the council.

The guests stay in hotels at the invitation of the council and do not choose the hotels themselves. The City Manager's Department, the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Planning and Development section, the City Architect's Division and Public Libraries section are among those who have arranged hotel accommodation.

Independent TD Finian McGrath called for a full review of the council's use of and expenditure on hotels.

"It is beyond me how any local authority could spend such a huge sum on hotels in a three-month period," he told the Herald.

"It is an outrageous bill and will infuriate people. I believe a full review needs to be carried out on the council's use of hotels.

The council did not respond to a request for comment in time for going to print.

noconnor@herald.ie


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