Micheal Martin’s €3,800 hotel bill and Minister Hanafin’s mother

One of the Ministers who largely avoided criticism of his overseas expenditure at the height of the expenses controversy was Micheal Martin.

His position at the Department of Foreign Affairs made it very difficult to quibble with the very substantial travel bills that were run up by him on our behalf.

It is not quite so easy to explain away the profligacy that surrounded his time at the Department of Health however.

More documents obtained for my book Snouts in the Trough show that Micheal Martin may well hold the record for the most expensive hotel room ever booked on behalf of an Irish Minister.

That would be the more than €3,800 spent on a room for two nights at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva.

According to the bill itself, the cost in euro was more than €4,000 but by the time the Department of Health actually paid it, a couple of hundred euro had been knocked off the price, a major relief to the grateful Irish taxpayer.

There were other substantial costs, of course: a particularly large limousine bill whilst staying in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins in San Francisco and another room at the Irish government’s favourite Parisien hotel: the Raphael.

The astronomical bill at the Hotel des Bergues here

Room bill in San Francisco here

And a few brunches at the Top of the Mark here

The limo bill on the same trip here

A stay at the Hotel Raphael here

A sample page of what the Dept of Health were spending on Ministerial travel each month here

Another Minister who got away pretty lightly last year was Mary Hanafin.

Indeed, in some quarters she was painted as something of a hero in the controversy over expenses with one article calling her frugal and another praising her for staying with a relative while in New York.

In another radio interview, Minister Hanafin was at pains to point out that she did not think she had ever stayed in a €1,000 per night hotel.

Hear it on YouTube, thanks to Gavin Sheridan at thestory.ie

I suppose she was correct in that one room she stayed in at the Four Seasons in Boston was paid for in dollars – all $1,292 of them each night – and not euros.

Another unusual arrangement was in place whereby Ms Hanafin, whose husband died in 2003, was accompanied by her mother Mona on official trips abroad.

Flights for Mona Hanafin ended up being more than €20,000, according to a breakdown of costs for her daughter during the period 2005 to 2007.

You can ignore any scribbles on the documents, they are mine:

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