Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Departmental Travel Costs.

11.

asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will give up-to-date figures of the amount and costs of travel, at home and abroad, for his Department during the last three years; and if he will outline the system in use for the purchase of the Department's travel requirements.

I propose to circulate the figures requested in a tabular statement in the Official Report.

As regard the final part of the question, the position is that the home travel is undertaken by officials using either public transport or their own private care while foreign travel flight requirements are normally arranged by my Department through Aer Lingus.

Following are the details of the amount and cost of travel for my Department:

Home

Foreign

Amount: Number of Officers travelling

Cost(1)

Amount: Number of Officers travelling

Cost(2)

1983

2,587

£5,400,000

230

£524,000

1984

2,463

£6,350,000

268

£746,000

1985

2,433

£6,820,000

254

£727,000

(1) Amounts are in respect of travel and subsistence costs.

(2) Amounts for foreign travel include the costs of air fares for attendence at EC meetings which are recouped by the EC.

Was the Minister in Barcelona?

Will the Minister indicate if he is satisfied that the best possible value is being obtained when it is clear there is no degree of competitive tendering or seeking competitive prices by Departments generally? In this specific case, is he satisfied with what has happened in his Department in respect of travel arrangements? Is it the case that some official rings up Aer Lingus and books a flight——

The Deputy may not make a speech on every question.

With regard to internal travel, we are happy we have the most cost efficient utilisation of personnel and transport. With regard to foreign travel, we are aware of the comments and observations of the Committee on Public Expenditure. A number of Departments, primarily the Department of Finance, are looking into those recommendations and if there are deficiencies we will remedy them.