For the best part of three months, I (and a couple of other newspaper reporters, it now seems) have been trying to get details of all overseas travel expenses involving Mary Harney, the former Tanaiste and current Minister for Health.
A few weeks ago, we got our hands on the general details of her costs for a story that we carried in the Sunday Tribune.
We also worked out costs of Ms Harney’s use of the government jet but on subsequent examination, it seems like the actual cost was more like E620,000 as opposed to the E730,000 that we originally stated. And so I am happy to clarify the over-estimation.
The hourly cost of the Learjet and Gulfstream IV changed in 2009 and we were working off those values rather than the older lesser ones that applied when this travel took place in the period between 2006 and 2008.
Anyway, four weeks after the deadline for releasing this information had passed, the Department of Health finally released more than 700 pages of documentation on Friday October 23.
All eight files are available online now at scribd. There is a lot of information there and it will take quite some time to go through it. If anyone has any thoughts, you can email me or make a comment.
It starts off with the itineraries of Ms Harney’s overseas travel.
Then we have general details of the expenditure overseas on hotels, food, car transport and so on. These are the most interesting ones.
After that, we’ve got details of Ministerial travel expenses, generally subsistence that was claimed back by Ms Harney.
For the sake of completeness, we also looked for details of expenditure on travel within Ireland and that’s here.
On the occasions when Minister Harney didn’t use the government jet, flights were generally booked through Club Travel and those details are here.
Finally, we have the bill for VIP services at Dublin Airport, which the Department released as a separate file.