Govt spent €1.6m using aircraft since Oct

Wednesday 15 April 2009 17.21
Micheál Martin - Made 24 journeys using Aer Corps
Micheál Martin - Made 24 journeys using Aer Corps

Government ministers have spent more than €1.6m using Air Corps helicopters and aircraft since last October's Budget.

Figures released to RTÉ under the Freedom of Information Act show that of the 83 journeys undertaken, 25 were to and from destinations on the island of Ireland. 13 of those were by helicopter.

70 of the trips were taken using the Government jet and three other fixed-wing aircraft, the other 13 were in Air Corps helicopters.

The cost of each journey ranges from €7,890 an hour for the Government jet to €1,590 for the smaller of the two helicopters.

The minister using the service most often was Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin with 24 journeys, followed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen who made 16.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Mary Coughlan took 11 flights, as did Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith, while Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern took eight.

Of the 25 flights within Ireland, Minister Coughlan and Minister Martin each account for five, while Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey and Minister Ahern both used the helicopter three times.

Minister for Health Mary Harney took the Learjet on domestic flights twice.