Ministerial fleet cost to be halved


The Cabinet has approved new measures to retain State cars and Garda drivers for security reasons only for the President, the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence.

According to the Government, this will more than halve the cost of ministerial transport. Official cars and Garda drivers will no longer be provided to former taoisigh and former presidents, except in respect of important State occasions.

The cost of running state cars for the last two years has totalled €11 million. In a statement tonight, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter said the new arrangements will save the State an estimated €4 million per year.

Ministers, together with the Ceann Comhairle and the Attorney General, will supply their own cars and civilian drivers will be hired, as has been the case for Ministers of State for some years.

The new arrangements will come into effect for Ministers at the latest on May 1st, and in three months in the case of former taoisigh and residents. This decision does not affect the provision of a State car to the Chief Justice and the current Director of Public Prosecutions.

Meanwhile, there will be a reduction of 25 per cent in the permitted staffing of Ministers’ offices, and 33 per cent for Ministers of State.

According to the Government, the permitted staffing of the private offices and constituency offices of Ministers and Ministers of State is being reduced with immediate effect, from 10 to eight and six to four respectively for Ministers, and from seven to five and five to three respectively for Ministers of State.

“The combination of these measures will make a significant impact on the cost of Government and reflects the determination of the Government to establish a momentum for political reform,” a spokesman said.

Fine Gael and Labour pledged in the programme for government to halve the cost of the transport fleet and free up Garda drivers to return to front-line duties.