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Enda gets off on the right foot with a stroll to work... while Joan hops on bus

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny left the State car parked up on his first day while Joan Burton took the bus.

The Green Party "State-bicycles" might be out of use -- but it appears most of the new Cabinet is "keeping it real".

Fine Gael leader Mr Kenny eschewed the trappings of his new office by walking to Leinster House from his apartment on Pearse Street.

He surprised reporters by arriving at the gates of parliament on foot, telling them: "It's great to be able to walk."

The Herald understands that Mr Kenny has been allocated ex-finance minister Brian Lenihan's car and Dermot Ahern's former driver -- but wants to limit their use.

However, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter did not follow his boss' example, instead settling into the back seat of his State car on his way to a Cabinet meeting.

He appeared to be enjoying the chauffeur-driven experience as he gave a presidential-style wave to photographers.

His colleague, Health Minister James Reilly, followed the usual practice of sitting in the front seat, alongside the driver.

Commuters on the No 39 bus from Blanchardstown to the city centre may well have done a double take as they noticed Joan Burton among the passengers.

She opted for public transport ahead of a ministerial car following her appointment as Minister for Social Protection.

"Everyone is delighted on the 39," she told the Herald.

It is expected that a review of the State car system will be completed within two weeks. Figures show that every ministerial car costs the taxpayer €200,000 a year to run, with the overall expense coming to more than €5m a year.

Mr Kenny's new ministers will be jetting out all over the world for St Patrick's Day celebrations.

However, in contrast to last year's exodus of 22 ministers, just eight members of the Cabinet will be going.

The Taoiseach will take the Government's Gulfstream jet to Washington DC to present the traditional bowl of shamrock to Barack Obama. He will be accompanied by his wife Fionnuala on the three-day trip.

Mr Kenny will also meet with senior US figures and undertake engagements in support of Irish trade and investment.

He said the celebrations will be used to "give a clear message to the world that Ireland is open for business".

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is to visit New York, while Frances Fitzgerald is going to Australia and New Zealand and Leo Varadkar is going to India.