The Golden Circle, so much, for Global Fucking Warming? Thats for the Farmers, and Rural Ireland?

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Ministers have shelled out €600,000 of taxpayers’ money on private jet trips so far in 2022

4th August 2022

Ministers have spent over €600,000 of taxpayers’ money jetting off on the exclusive Government jet so far this year.

The Government has taken to the skies with gusto since Covid restrictions on travel eased, with at least one minister using the government jet for a €20,000 trip every week

© Simon Coveney

People Before Profit’s Paul Murphy has slammed the “waste of money” and urged ministers to fly on regular commercial airlines like everybody else has to.

The Dublin South-West TD also believes the Government is not setting a good example on emissions and climate change by flying private.

  • There have been over 30 ministerial trips to the end of June, with the average cost per trip coming in at just under €20,000.

The vast majority of them were short-hop visits to countries in Europe, where there are multiple commercial flights also available to most of the destinations.

But the Government insists on using the state jet instead because of the comfort and flexibility it provides if, for example, schedules run over or meetings run late.

There is also the option for the government jet to use military airbases when abroad.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney or his junior ministers in Iveagh House have used the services of the Ministerial Air Transport Service the most, with his department’s travel for “ministers” listed for 16 of the 34 trips.

The Taoiseach used the government jet services 11 times. It costs an average of €4,300 an hour to have the government jet, a Learjet, in the air.

The Learjet 45 is the Government’s preferred way of flying, but MATS also offers the option of two other aircraft, a CASA CN235 and an Agusta AW139 helicopter.

And when none of the MATS craft are available, or suitable, the Air Corps are asked to provide one of their other 23 planes or helicopters.

TD Murphy slated the extensive use of the jets by ministers, describing it as “a big waste of money for the taxpayer”.

He added: “They really should be taking regular flights to get where they need to go. This also does not set the correct example from a government who are asking ordinary people to dig deep for the climate.

“People are being asked to fork out a lot of money – retrofitting their homes, buying electric cars, whilst paying an unjust carbon tax on top of the cost of living crisis.”

The Learjet, which entered service in 2004 can carry seven passengers.

The use of any Air Corps jets or helicopters for ministerial transport is subject to the authorisation of the Taoiseach.

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