Ministerial cars have cost €11m

 

Almost €11 million has been spent on providing ministerial cars and drivers over the past two years, according to new figures.

Details regarding State expenditure on ministerial cars were provided by Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern in response to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael's transport spokesman Simon Coveney.

He described the figures as "unjustified and unsustainable" in the current economic climate and said a future Fine Gael government would cut expenditure on ministerial cars by half and introduce a car pooling system.

The bill for ministerial cars since 2008 is estimated at €10.9 million and covers provision of 27 vehicles and 54 drivers.

Mr Coveney said that it was time that "Mercs and Ministers" were no longer automatically associated and vowed to ensure that Garda drivers would only be provided to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice under a Fine Gael government.

Mr Coveney also said steps would be taken to encourage Ministers to take public transport or make use of their own personal vehicles instead of using ministerial cars.

"This sense of entitlement has to end. It is now time to reform the current arrangement which is far too expensive and goes way beyond what is actually required," he said.

“While the savings will not make a dramatic impact on the Exchequer, it will send out a clear message that reform in the public service is starting from the top down," Mr Coveney added.