EXTRAVAGANT bills for €500-a-night hotel rooms, €140 for moving luggage and up to €4,000 in limousine hire are still being amassed by Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Detailed figures of expenditure by the Department of the Taoiseach during the first seven months of the year show a bill to the taxpayer of more than €35,000.That excludes the high price of the government's Gulfstream IV jet, which, with a €7,890-per-hour price tag, was used extensively by Cowen this year.

The full cost of the Taoiseach's visit to America for St Patrick's Day has also become clear with bills still arriving. A €140.96 porterage charge for "moving the luggage" at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago was not billed until early last month, it has emerged.

Three rooms were also booked at the hotel with the relatively reasonable price tag of €221 each and the same amount paid out for a meeting room. Limousine charges in the Windy City came to €2,622, according to the Department of the Taoiseach.

From Chicago, the Taoiseach and his entourage moved on to the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco where Cowen's room cost €264. Another bill for €3,999 was also run up in California, charged by Carey International Car Hire, who provided luxury transport to the delegation.

The days of costly hotel room charges also appear to have made a comeback with €500 paid for a single night at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Brussels later in March. A banquet room was also hired at the same hotel for €300 while two other rooms were booked for the Taoiseach's advisors and security staff at a cost of €414. Even though Cowen was only in the Belgian capital for a single day, he still managed to run up a car hire cost of €1,315.

Sizable cancellation charges were also made with €481.74 paid out for a hotel in Copenhagen even though the Taoiseach never travelled.

Other costs for the St Patrick's Day trip have also been revealed with €2,563 spent on a lunch meeting with members of the Ireland America Economic Advisory Board and another €3,241 paid out for room hire, fit-out, equipment and telephone costs in Washington DC.

A room for Cowen and his wife Mary at the St Regis Hotel for three nights cost €1,199, according to the Department of the Taoiseach.

Another €1,300 was also spent on accommodation at the luxury hotel for the delegation and for the Taoiseach's private secretary. Limousine costs for that that trip were paid for in May of this year and came to €3,993 through Admiral Car Hire in Washington DC.