ACCOMMODATION for minister for arts, sport and tourism Martin Cullen on a trip to the Ryder Cup in September last year cost more than $800 a night.
Hotel bills released by Tourism Ireland, which organised the trip to the international golfing tournament, show that the minister's personal tab ran to $4,433.65.
The minister stayed at the luxury Galt House Hotel and Suites in Louisville, Kentucky, for a total of six nights, the tourism body confirmed.
The room rate each night was $771, while further taxes of $58 had to be paid each night on top of the cost of his lodgings.
As Cullen enjoyed the accommodation at the luxury hotel in Kentucky, the government was under severe pressure back home.
Halfway through his week-long stay, his cabinet colleague, finance minister Brian Lenihan, made a public statement reassuring Irish bank-account holders that their deposits were safe.
"We have been advised by the financial regulator that deposits are safe, that there is no danger to Irish banks, and depositors should be assured that the banks have ready access to funds," said Lenihan.
Martin Cullen was one of three people to travel to the Ryder Cup, along with the former chief executive of Tourism Ireland, Paul O'Toole, and the minister's private secretary, John Conroy.
The total hotel bill for the two civil servants was $5,392, according to documents released by the organisation. However, a further entry on the hotel bill regarding extra costs has been blacked out without explanation.
Flights for the three men cost in excess of €14,000, with subsistence costs for dining and other expenses coming in at more than €2,200.
Tourism Ireland said that Cullen and Conroy had been guests of the organisation in support of the body's "golf promotional objectives" in North America.
It said: "The minister was a guest of governor Steve Beshear and Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson at a dinner where he addressed up to 1,200 people.
"While there, they met with top North American travel-trade and business-tourism representatives, key airline executives as well as with travel writers and golf media to update them on developments within Irish tourism.
"They also met with European tour officials to discuss the future of the Irish Open golf tournament. The minister also hosted a 'meet the Irish' reception at Lexington and the guests included golf media and trade VIPs."
O'Toole has since been appointed the director general of Fás, another government body that has attracted controversy for its spending on overseas travel.
In the two years before O'Toole moved to Fás, he racked up a personal travel bill of more than €80,000, according to records provided by the body.
His bill for travel last year came to €48,984 while new data released shows a further spend of more than €34,000 in 2007.
That included a €6,442 business-class flight to Pudong in China for "trade and media promotions" and a €3,008 executive flight to New York for an "office visit".
Two further trips to London and Paris, costing €759, had to be cancelled due to a bereavement but the costs involved were "non-refundable".
Details of O'Toole's travel for the years between 2002 and 2006 would only be made available on payment of a "search and retrieval fee" of €3,068, Tourism Ireland said.
'Fianna Fail must honestly believe the Irish public are idiots'. But Mike, they are. They keep voting these incompetents into government. Should the people of Waterford ever get sense and dispatch Martin Cullen out of Dail Eireann, he would have a difficult time getting work in the private sector. He has to be the dumbest member in cabinet
As a waterford man I agree with you on how idioctic the voter is to return that incompetant again and again, however our system is set up so that a taoiseach can allocate ministries, funds to buy votes.
A lot of voters voted for Cullen coz he got the second bridge.......
The parish pump political set up is designed for this , we need to abolish the seanad , put local issues in local councils, and have a impartial national government of about half the numbers that feed off the trough at the moment .
Fat chance though
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Some within the senior levels of State Employment are guilty of poor judgement at best and fraud at worst.
If guilty of poor judgement then surely these are not the people to be leading us at this time and if guilty of fraud they should be forced to resign and pursued as an employee in the private sector would be.
The UK is going through a purge at the moment and we need to do likewise.
As a taxpayer I'm expected to pay the tab for not only these junkets, the developer friends, the paedophile clergy, the white elephant projects, the private jets & air corps helicopter trips and these twits have the audacity to talk down to me.
Fianna Fail must honestly believe the Irish public are idiots, staying in the most expensive hotels, dining in the most expensive restaraunts, flying in the most expensive seats (or Governmanet jet) and attending very dubious events.
Who sanctioned The Ryder Cup as an authorised Government event?
signing off on a 'opus dei' inside deal during the final hours of the last Government and think we can't see through it.
This so called 'Republican Party' is abusing the Irish people far more than 'the brits' ever did.