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Stephen Donnelly and Robert Watt’s chauffeured car driving delegation around Dubai cost taxpayer €1,000

Heath Minister Stephen Donnelly and Robert Watt, Secretary General on the Department of Health, had a chauffeured automotive costing the taxpayer €1,000 organized to ferry their delegation round Dubai Expo 2020 earlier this yr.

The Irish Mirror obtained Freedom of Information paperwork which present {that a} automotive and driver was booked for the Health Minister and his Secretary General’s journey by the Irish Embassy.

Meanwhile, Mr Watt additionally attended a “golf event” whereas on his taxpayer-funded journey to Dubai.

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The two males had been slammed on the time for jetting in a foreign country to attend Expo on the finish of January.

At the time, their division was engulfed in a lot of controversies, such because the South Kerry CAMHS scandal, Covid was nonetheless rampant and the well being service was at breaking level.

No different Secretary General had travelled out to Expo throughout three journeys within the previous months, together with Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar’s in November.

Emails between the Irish ambassador, Aidan Cronin, embassy officers and Department of Health workers revealed the reserving of an additional chauffeured car outdoors the conventional embassy fleet.

Mr Cronin mentioned: “The hire prices for a car with driver are €250 per day.”

The embassy’s personal eight-seat sedan automotive was additionally used for transport of the ministerial crew.

The Expo programme for the Minister and Secretary General had occasions scheduled for 4 days on the finish of January and begin of February, leaving a tab for the taxpayer of about €1,000 for chauffeur providers.

Another electronic mail from the resort the delegation was staying at, the five-star Voco Bonnington at Jumeirah Lakes Towers, reveals the resort organised airport transfers individually.

The paperwork obtained by the Irish Mirror additionally present the 2 high males in Health had two days off throughout their six-day journey.

Mr Watt had a gathering scheduled at a “golf event”, whereas Mr Donnelly declined the invitation.

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy had been among the many {golfing} stars that had been enjoying within the Dubai Desert Classic, which was performed the weekend Mr Watt and Mr Donnelly had been in Dubai. Rory McIlroy narrowly missed out on successful the event.

Mr Donnelly and Mr Watt had official engagements on the Thursday and up till lunchtime on Friday after which they had been off-diary till Monday morning.

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This is regardless of Ambassador Cronin’s workplace arranging for the Health Minister to talk on a panel whilst a part of Expo on Sunday afternoon.

But this reserving needed to be cancelled.

Another electronic mail from considered one of Mr Donnelly’s senior aides mentioned: “As mentioned, the Minister’s preference is not to have programmed events on the weekend.

“I see he is now listed as a participant in the Healthier World, Healthier People, World Majlis event on Sunday.”

An additional electronic mail then added: “The Minster would prefer not to have commitments over the weekend, so on that basis I think we should turn down the offer of a speaking slot for the Expo event on 30 January.”

The official closing itinerary seen by the Irish Mirror reveals the Sunday occasion was faraway from the schedule.

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