The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has spent €4,992.19 to date this year at headquarters on bottled water. The Department has a contractual commitment to bottled drinking water until 2021 for two of twelve HQ buildings, at which stage drinking water provision will be switched to mains supply. The cost of the contracts to-date in 2019 was €2,803.27.
The Protocol Division of the Department also purchases bottled water for catering purposes, at a cost of €2,102.95 so far this year. Also, following the recent boil water notices issued by Irish Water and Fingal County Council, a small supply of bottled water costing €75.27 was purchased for the staff of the Passport Office in Balbriggan. There was also an issue recently with the water supply to our Limerick office and bottled water costing €10.70 was purchased. Bottled water is also purchased by a number of our Missions abroad, in locations where potable water is not available on tap.
The Department keeps expenditure on bottled water to a minimum in line with Government commitments to sustainability. At headquarters, with the small number of exceptions already mentioned, our policy and practice is to supply staff with filtered mains water dispensed via centrally-located water coolers. The majority of staff at headquarters have also been supplied with reusable water flasks so that they can have fresh water at their desks and to remove the need for the recycling of disposable cups.
With the exception of €18.65 spent on paper cups for an off-site protocol function, my Department has not purchased any disposable coffee cups in 2019.