TD queries cost of Irish EU presidency
The cost of gifts for Ireland’s presidency of the EU will drive ordinary people “around the twist”, United Left Alliance TD Richard Boyd Barrett has warned.
He queried prices which he said included €66,000 for neckties, €143,000 on wool scarves, €250,000 for a website, gifts such as mugs and golf umbrellas and a reported €775,000 for stationery packages for “eurocrats and journalists”.
Claiming Ireland’s presidency would cost €70 million, “twice what the Danish presidency paid”, he asked the Taoiseach if he believed that was enough to “drive ordinary workers in this country around the twist ... We are wining and dining these guys who are coming here while ordinary workers are being slaughtered, so to speak”.
Enda Kenny told him he was “really putting on the whinger’s face when he says we cannot give visitors to our country a memento of the Irish presidency”. He accused him of “descending to the bottom of the pit if that is his attitude”.
The Taoiseach said about €60 million plus security costs would be required. The presidency was a major undertaking on behalf of 500 million people and it was significantly less than the €110 million cost of Ireland’s 2004 presidency. He said “whether Deputy Boyd Barrett likes it or not, those involved have to eat something”.