Hig­gins’ Kerry flights cost State over €11k

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - NEWS -

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.

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