Varadkar’s trade mission to America cost the Irish taxpayer €50,000, which included €75 bottles of wine – – Our News, Your Views

Varadkar’s trade mission to America cost the Irish taxpayer €50,000, which included €75 bottles of wine

IDA spent around €50,000 on a trade mission to the United States that included reservations at a number of four-star hotels, business class flights and fine dining bills.

An event at a luxury restaurant in California for 22 people ended up costing more than €7,000 with four bottles of wine worth €75 on the bill and a menu worth €135 per person.

The travel delegation — led by current Taoiseach Leo Varadkar — has been booked into a number of four-star hotels, including Seattle’s Fairmont Olympic Hotel, San Francisco’s Palace Hotel and Silicon Valley’s Stanford Park Hotel.

An official dinner at Selby’s Restaurant in Redwood City cost $5,400 with an additional $1,648 spent on flowers and room rental, according to documents released by FOI.

The dinner bill included what was described as “20 IDA menus” costing €2,700 and three bottles of Turnbull Cellars wine for a total cost of €185.

Five bottles of Mount Riley Pinot Noir netted the Irish taxpayer €328, with a further €300 spent on four bottles of Averaen Chardonnay.

According to a copy of the restaurant receipt, the bill included a €900 service charge at 20% “in lieu of [a] gratuity”

IDA said it spent €15,875 on transatlantic flights for the trip, €11,188 on hotel accommodations in several West Coast cities and just over €13,100 on transportation services for the six-member delegation.

During the trip, the then-Tanaiste Varadkar presented Google with a special award for its contribution to the Irish economy.

The Mirror reports that transport costs included 4×4 hire at a cost of €120 per hour and minibus hire at a cost of €196 per hour. There was also a working breakfast bill of €614 from the Menlo Tavern at the Stanford Park Hotel where the Irish delegation was staying.

Not only was the cost limited to the IDA, Enterprise Ireland also paid €26,000 for nine of its own staff working on the trade mission.

This included flight costs of 8,825 euros, hotel bills of 4,351 euros, meal expenses of 516 euros and taxi bills of 1,554 euros. In addition, an invoice for the costs of holding the event amounting to 7,700 euros was incurred.

An IDA spokesman said: “IDA Ireland organised this trade/investment mission to the US West Coast [during April] in partnership with Enterprise Ireland. The mission was attended by Leo Varadkar, who was accompanied by [then] IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan and Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy,” reports The Mirror.

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