The expenses “appeared high”: John O’Donoghue

So John O’Donoghue has finally spoken [well put pen to paper] and admitted that travel expenses run up by himself and his wife Kate-Ann “appeared” to be high.

In reality, they “appeared” high because they were high … incredibly high.

During the course of his five years in office at the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism, he and his wife amassed a travel bill of AT LEAST €550,000 during dozens of trip abroad.

That figure covers the cost of flights, hotels, the government jet and all the various other incidentals involved in Ministerial travel.

I drive home the words AT LEAST because significant chunks of his travel bill were picked up by state agencies, particularly Tourism Ireland, Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Film Board.

To get access to those documents will require an investment of thousands of euro. Tourism Ireland for instance are seeking €1,600 in “search and retrieval” fees while the other two bodies are likely to want something similar.

As I’ve said before, if any millionaire out there has some spare cash burning a hole in his/her pocket, feel free to contact me.

I only deal in vouched expenses and it could well be a worthy investment

Anyway, the latest round of documents released to the Sunday Tribune show flights to China costing €9,000, an even bigger bill of more than €10,000 for car hire during the Cheltenham festival, and various other expenditure that “appears” very high.

Unfortunately, we have not been provided with the same level of detail in this second FOI, compared to the original one from two months ago, which has been posted in full over at Gavin’s blog.

By way of explanation, the first FOI yielded around 150 pages, with very high levels of details including emails, flight itineraries, hotel bills and even copies of subsistence claims.

The second FOI – despite costing four times as much – yielded a total of just FOUR pages, basically a table of expenditure by the Minister over a four year period, one page for each year.

We don’t know what hotels he stayed in, what class of flight was used, what car hire firm was tasked with the VIP transport and what a few thousand euro in “miscellaneous” expenses even are.

I plan to publish these documents later on in the week when I have time and at the same time pass them over to The Story to add to the bank of information they are trying to put together over there.

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