Higgins' Kerry flights cost State over €11k

President Michael D Higgins' trip to Kerry earlier this year cost over €11,000 for flights alone according to new figures from the Department of Public Expenditure.

President Higgins visited Kerry on Friday and Saturday February 16 and 17.

On the first day of the visit The President visited Dingle and west Kerry where he attended a concert held in honour of the late poet Danny Sheehy.

The following day he travelled south to Cahersiveen and Valentia, where he visited the Valentia Observatory and the Transatlantic Cable Station.

The limited Government information available on the cost of the presidency reveals that to date in 2018 President Higgins has used the Government Jet on 16 occasions, compared to just nine times during all of 2017.

Of these 16 jet journeys, four involved Kerry, with the crew of the plane required to take a total of four flights in order to ferry President Higgins to and from Kerry.

On February 16 President Higgins was flown to Kerry airport, with the Learjet immediately returning to Baldonnel Airport in Dublin.

The following day, February 17, the jet was flown back to Kerry to pick up The President and bring him back to Dublin.

According to the Government's figures the cost of the entire four-flight journey cost €11,340.

Official records for the President's use of the State-owned Learjet are never published - unlike the publication of detailed records of flights taken by ministers and the Taoiseach - and there are limited publicly available sources of information for how taxpayers' money is spent by the Office of the Presidency.