Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (237)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

237. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the amount spent by his Department on the recent visit by the President of the United States of America in June 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24970/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The only expenditure to be incurred directly by my Department relates to a Press Officer of the Department who was present in County Clare to assist with media operations who will receive travel and subsistence payments in line with standard civil service rates.

In relation to security costs of the visit and in particular the costs incurred by An Garda Síochána, I would remind the Deputy that the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote. He is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the allocation of Garda resources.

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the specific information requested and when it is to hand I will write to the Deputy directly.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to Parliamentary Question No. 237 for answer on 18 June 2019 in which the Deputy requested the amount spent by my Department on the recent visit by the President of the United States of America in June 2019.  
As outlined in my initial response, the only expenditure incurred directly by my Department related to a Press Officer of the Department, who was present in County Clare to assist with media operations, and who received travel and subsistence payments in line with standard civil service rates.  
As the Deputy will appreciate, high-level visits to Ireland are of significant importance in the development and maintenance of our relations with other States. As a small, outward-looking country, such visits offer important opportunities for positive engagement with partners.  
In relation to security costs of the visit, and in particular the costs incurred by An Garda Síochána, you will recall that the information could not be obtained in the time available and I undertook to consult with An Garda Síochána and contact you again when the information was available. I apologise for the delay in responding while I consulted with An Garda Síochána on this matter.
I would remind the Deputy that under Section 43 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote. Section 26 of the Act provides that the Garda Commissioner is also responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána, including the allocation Garda resources. I, as Minister, have no role in these matters.
The Garda authorities have informed me that the costs compiled to date in respect of President Trump’s visit total approximately €11.5 million.  I understand that the cost of Vice President Pence’s visit stands at approximately €3 million.  Such costs arise across a number of subheads, generally including salary including overtime, travel and subsistence, communications costs, equipment costs, station services and so on.
Additional funding will be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of this year to meet the costs to An Garda Síochána associated with the visits.  I am grateful to my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for taking this into account
I trust this information is of assistance.