MINISTERS have spent more than €250,000 on photography since the Government took up office, new figures reveal.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's Department of Foreign Affairs spent more than €119,000 – almost half the overall sum.
Mr Gilmore attributed the large costs to the State visits by the Queen and US President Barack Obama, as well as Ireland's holding of the EU Presidency.
"There was a significant number of such events in the period in question, including the State visit of Queen Elizabeth II, the visit by President Obama and the Irish Chairmanship of the OSCE, all of which resulted in very positive international coverage of Ireland," he said.
"In the case of Ireland's Presidency of the EU, there was a demand for photography which would not routinely apply."
The Department of Agriculture spent €32,244.38, while the Department of Communications clocked up a bill of just under €11,000.
Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure spent €1,000 on photography, the lowest of all the Government departments.
The figures were supplied to Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins following a series of parliamentary questions.
Mr Collins said the massive bill illustrates how "out of touch" the Government has become.
"The more things change, the more things stay the same," he told the Herald. "This Government has clearly demonstrated that their egos and vanity are top priority, as illustrated by the excessive, over the top photography costs.
"The ordinary person in the street simply cannot comprehend what has got into these Government ministers," he added.