The Department of Transport has disputed reports in the Irish Daily Mail concerning the cost of Noel Dempsey's attendance at the MacGill Summer School, saying around €13,000 was spent on the trip, and not €100,000 as was reported.

The Irish Daily Mail estimated that it cost €100,000 for Minister Dempsey to fly to Derry airport on the Government jet and then travel on to Glenties in Co Donegal.

The newspaper rejected the Government response, and said the figure of €100,000 was based on the Department of Defence's own published costs for use of the jet.

In a statement, the Department of Transport said that alternatives to the Government jet were investigated, 'but in this instance it was concluded that this was the most viable option.'

According to the Department, Minister Dempsey was asked to attend a breakfast meeting in London the day after his address to the MacGill Summer School last month.

The Department said the meeting concerned 'potentially securing very significant investment in Ireland'.

'By the time the Minister had finished in the Glenties there was no commercial flight that he could have taken from Derry, Donegal, Belfast, Sligo or Dublin that would get him to London in time for his 7.15am meeting in London the following morning', the statement concluded.