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Cabinet car costs a disgrace - Crowe

3 October, 2003

Speaking after receiving a response from the Minister for Justice that it costs €2.9 million per year to provide cars and drivers to Cabinet Ministers Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said:

"Obviously I recognise the need for Cabinet Ministers to have access to drivers and cars so that they can properly get on with doing their jobs but I find the figure of €2.9 million to provide such a service for fifteen or so people each year as staggering and impossible to justify.

"It's an utter disgrace when we have all the problems we have with public transport and the debacle that is LUAS that we have Ministers being ferried around this country, often for very frivolous and party political matters, at a cost of €170,000 per Minister per year. There is no justification for this whatsoever.

"That figure is properly placed in prospective when compared to the Governments recent decision to cut Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) childcare funding for people trying to get back to education and work. For a fraction of that €2.9 million almost 1,400 parents were left without proper funding for childcare facilities as they arranged to go back to full time education this September, forcing many of them off VTOS programmes.

"Ministers speeding around the country in the high-powered Mercs need to take a reality check." ENDS

Question and Answer below

Question No. 1122

To the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Question: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost to the State on an annual basis of providing each Cabinet Minister with a car. - Seán Crowe.

For written answer on Tuesday, 30th September, 2003.

Answer: I have been informed by the Garda authorities that the annual cost of providing cars for Cabinet Ministers is €2.9 million. This is an annual cost of approximately €170,000 per Minister.

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