Mary Hanafin, Bertie Ahern, John O'Donoghue and Micheál Martin during the controversial trip to India

A MAJOR trade mission to India cost the taxpayer at least €250,000, with 11 first-class and business class flights paid for by Enterprise Ireland.

The controversial trip, which was attended by then-taoiseach Bertie Ahern along with ministers Mary Hanafin, Micheál Martin and John O'Donoghue, was capped off with a banquet that cost more than €27,000.

It has now emerged that four first-class tickets to India were also purchased on behalf of Micheál Martin, two civil servants and the chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, Frank Ryan.

Each of the airfares cost €7,330.50 with another seven business class flights, ranging in cost from €4,400 to €5,700 also booked for staff of Enterprise Ireland.

The total cost of the flights was €63,700, and another €13,500 was spent on air tickets for three journalists who travelled on the trade mission in 2006.

Hotel costs on the trip came to more than €25,393, according to fresh details released under the Freedom of Information Act to, a website campaigning for transparency in government.

A further €592 was spent on taxis, €188 on meals, €4,734 on subsistence payments and €1,068 on "sundry" expenses.

In total, Enterprise Ireland paid out €109,210 to send 14 people to India for a total of five days as part of the trade mission.

Last week, the Sunday Tribune revealed that the Department of the Taoiseach had spent €48,582 while the Department of Foreign Affairs paid out €65,161 on the Indian trip.

Additional costs for the trade mission are likely, although many of the hotel bills for the travelling delegation were paid for by the Indian government.

However, the current bill for the trip stands at around €260,000, not including costs which may have been paid by other public bodies or government departments.

Former education minister Mary Hanafin also travelled to India; flights for her and two civil servants cost a total of €26,421.

Accommodation for her travelling party came to €3,345, with €1,309 paid out in subsistence, €590 on medical expenses, €200 on gifts, €32 on taxis and €30 on incidental expenses.

The former minister John O'Donoghue also went to India, where €80 was paid over to "Indians for moving the luggage".

On that trip, O'Donoghue, his wife Kate-Ann and a civil servant mounted up an accommodation bill of nearly €5,500 at several hotels.

The luxury hotels at which they stayed included the Windsor Sheraton Hotel in Bangalore, the Mauyra Sheraton Hotel in Bangalore and the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Mumbai.