Flight, hotel and expenses bill of €45,000 as overseas travel by TDs and Senators resumed after Covid-19 restrictions

The Oireachtas paid out almost €45,000 for flights, hotels, and expenses, as politicians dipped their toes back into the world of international travel after a lengthy pandemic hiatus.

Almost all the €44,463 bill was run up between September and November of last year with TDs and Senators jetting off to the USA, the UAE, and even Uzbekistan.

Databases released by the Oireachtas reveal that one of the costliest trips was a visit made by Seanad Cathaoirleach Mark Daly to the USA in the autumn.

Costs on that official visit – which the FOI records list as having run from 24 October to 7 November – included €819 for a flight and €1,614 in hotel costs.

During the visit, Fianna Fáil Senator Daly gave the opening address at an event for Irish American legislators in Florida, after several days in Washington DC.

Two politicians – Fine Gael’s Charlie Flanagan and Fianna Fáil’s Brian Cowen – travelled to the United Arab Emirates in late November with flights for each of them costing €699.

Hotel costs for Mr Cowen were listed as €567 while a third member of the proposed delegation from the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence, Social Democrat TD Gary Gannon did not travel.

The Oireachtas said €457 of Mr Gannon’s €699 flight cost had been refunded already and that they were awaiting a further €142.

Former minister Michael Creed travelled to Uzbekistan in October as part of his work with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

According to the records, flights for that trip cost €1,311 with a further €663 spent on hotel accommodation for the Fine Gael TD.

The largest chunk of the €44,463 total bill was run up on Council of Europe business with fifteen separate trips to locations including Strasbourg, Moscow, Athens, and Rome costing €18,487.