Release: €65 million in Department of Foreign Affairs spending data

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This is a datadump of all spending by the Department of Foreign Affairs across a wide range of categories for 2015.

Included is the €46,000-a-month spent on renting a residence for the Ambassador in Tokyo, as well as the €5,400-a-month for a home for our most senior diplomat in the Vatican. Also in there is the €165,000 for an armoured car for our man in Ramallah, and €60,000 for a non-armoured Mercedes Benz for the Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

It includes €250,000 for furniture removal, and just over €220,000 on business class flights out of a €2million+ bill for airfares. About €180,000 was spent on hotels, with the biggest bill of €5,752 charged to the protocol division by the five-star Glenlo Abbey in Galway for hosting the German President.

Another large cost was “maintenance”, mostly to houses and embassies rented by the department. One contract was just over €210,000. Cars cost more than €750,000, with €69,000 spent in Ethiopia, €64,000 in Mozambique and €37,000 in Uganda — countries in which Irish Aid, the state’s overseas aid agency, is active.

A bill of €475,000 was run up on official entertainment, while a chauffeuring company was paid more than €50,000. Dublin Airport Authority was paid €16,400 for VIP lounges and other services.

Across the network of embassies and consulates, the bill for cable and satellite television came to €72,000 with the highest at Ireland’s UN office and consulates in New York. Cleaning bills for the diplomatic buildings exceeded €1m. The department also paid €186,654 in “settlement costs” to former local staff at the Irish embassy in Lesotho, following its closure in 2014.

Here is the raw data:

Download raw data here.

FOI process

To get this data, this was the text of the FOI submitted to the Department back in June. This should work for any government Department or public body as long as you knew the subheads they used:

Under the FOI Act 2014, I am seeking the following:

A datadump of the Oracle financial management system in use by the Department covering the time period 2015. This information should contain data relating only to the following subheads:

– Travel and subsistence (A2)
– Training and development and incidental expenses (A3)
– Postal and Telecommunications Services (A4)
– Office equipment and external IT services (A5)
– Office premises expenses (A6)
– Consultancy services and value for money and policy reviews (A7)
– This should include the following column heads (i.e. fields): payment date; subhead item; cost centre; vendor name; invoice number; line description; amount.

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