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We need a complete audit of transport costs for Ministers

17 October, 2003

Responding to the latest revelation that it costs the State €1.6 million for junior Ministers on top of the €2.9 million already announced to provide transport for Cabinet Ministers Seán Crowe TD said: "I find it incredible that it costs the taxpayers of this state almost €5 million a year to provide transport for Cabinet Ministers (€2.9 million) and Ministers of State (€1.6 million)." Deputy Crowe was responding to answers he received to Parliamentary Questions he put to all Government Departments.

Deputy Crowe said :"We need to have a complete audit of these costs. We need to ensure that Ministers and Ministers of State are not using money from the public purse to provide transport for personal or party political reasons. We also need to look at the makes and models of cars being provided by the State for our Ministers to see if we as a people are getting value for money.

"That one particular Minister of State could accrue €43,252 in mileage costs alone before adding on drivers costs and drivers expenses beggars belief and deserves particular attention. I know many people would be interested to know how many Ministers received mileage allowances during the week of the Galway Races, when the so-called great and the good decamped en-masse to the famous Ballybrit tent.

"There is no justification for these kinds of costs especially when we have cuts to essential services being announced on a daily basis. A fraction of this money would provide enough funding for many disadvantaged areas in terms of VTOS, Job Initiative and Community Employment Schemes.

"We need transparency on this issue. No Minister should be given what amounts to a blank cheque at the expense of the taxpaying public." ENDS

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