Department of Taoiseach's spending brought to book
ANGELA MERKEL thinks we’re reading the memorandum of understanding. So what is a book called What if Ireland Defaults? doing on the book list of the Department of an Taoiseach?
The book, edited by Trinity professor Brian Lucey, adjunct professor of finance at the university, economist Constantin Gurdgiev and research associate and adjunct lecturer at Trinity Charles Larkin, was bought by the Department of an Taoiseach for €15.26 in May, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.
The book, consists of 18 essays offering a cross-section of views from 20 contributors including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz; businessman and Libertas founder Declan Ganley; and Huginn Thorsteinsson, philosopher and adviser to the Icelandic minister of economic affairs and the Icelandic minister of fisheries and agriculture.
Spending by the Department of an Taoiseach for the first six months of 2012 also included Sylvia Nasar’s Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, which was purchased by the department at a cost of €17.84.
Of course, one stroke of economic genius which the Taoiseach engages in every year is the annual trip to the White House with shamrocks and presents in hand.
This year the gifts included a special weave Foxford Rug for the First Lady, Michelle Obama, at a cost of €80, while other St Patrick’s Day gifts purchased from Foxford Woollen Mills came to a total of €118.
Spending for the department also included two silver shamrock bracelets, also bought for the US St Patricks Day visit at a cost of €81, while men’s scarves worth €102 were also purchased.
However, there was no mention of the cost of this year’s shamrock bowl, which cost €400 in 2011, in this year’s expense figures.
A dinner held in honour of the Chinese vice president, Xi Jinping, at Dublin Castle in February cost €12,236 including staff, catering and refreshments; flowers for the event cost €953 while a crystal Celtic harp bowl, presented by the Taoiseach to China’s leader-in-waiting cost €100.
Of course if you are going to have people over then the very least you can do is protect them from the Irish climate: hence €551 spent on umbrellas for State functions which were bought from Clerys.
Closer to home, dinner and drinks for an event hosted by the Taoiseach in honour of President McAleese in Farmleigh in November, invoiced in February, cost €2,232.
Other expenses included a VIP service at Frankfurt airport for the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, and delegation on November 17th, 2011 costing €700, while VIP airport costs for the British Irish Summit on February 2nd totalled €3,400.