Written Answers - Travel Costs.

Ivor Callely

Ceist:

73 Mr. Callely asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the total cost of travel both internal and external undertaken by him, his special advisers, assistants, press secretary and Department officials in 1995; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2439/96]

In fulfilment of our obligations my officials, Ministers of State, and I travel to meetings and conferences abroad on a regular basis, particularly in the context of our membership of the European Union and the United Nations. Diplomats posted abroad are obliged to travel regularly within and between the countries to which they are accredited. My Department also incurs costs which arise from presidential and official visits and from transfers of officers between posts.

My Department's provision for this purpose in 1995 under the Foreign Affairs Vote was £3.863 million in total. The provisional outturn in 1995 amounts to a total of £3.321 million. Not all travel costs arising in a particular year can be brought to account within the same year. Of the travel costs charged in 1995 some will fall to 1994 and equally some 1995 costs can only be charged in 1996.

Total travel costs charged in 1995 from the Vote for the Office of the Tánaiste were £47,000 from a provision of £60,000.

As I have indicated previously, every effort is made to keep the cost of departmental travel to the minimum necessary. Since my appointment I have been conscious of the need to keep expenditure on ministerial travel to the minimum consistent with the appropriate discharge of my responsibilities as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs. The costs charged in relation to my private office in 1995 show a saving of 54 per cent on the allocation under this heading.