Ministers Noel Dempsey and Dermot Ahern: clocking up the miles

The Departments of Transport and Justice will between them increase their spend on travel by close to €1m this year despite Brian Lenihan's plea last October to slash travel expenses.

Although travel and subsistence costs are set to drop by 11% following the finance minister's request, they will increase by 73% in the Department of Justice, rising from €603,000 last year to over €1m this year.

Similarly, in Transport, travel and subsistence costs are set to rise from €1.3m last year to over €1.7m in 2009 – an increase of 32%. Ministerial travel looks set to increase by over 50%. In the estimates for the Air Corps, "support services for ministerial travel" is set to increase from just over €1m last year to almost €1.6m this year.

Willie O'Dea's department is also set to buck the trend of cutbacks though not by the same magnitude as Transport and Justice. Travel costs in the Department of Defence are set to rise from €361,000 last year to €396,000 this year – a 10% hike.

In March, the Department of Finance cut travel and overnight rates by 25%. The mileage rate is now just over 95c while an overnight stay in a hotel is down to €109.

In a stern warning to all departments, Finance said that all department heads should "continue to ensure that only essential travel is undertaken and the number of officers on any official journey is kept to the absolute minimum".

Of those who have heeded Lenihan's call, An Garda Síochána has contributed the most savings on travel expenses though the force has always been the highest spender on travel. Travel expenses among the country's 14,600 gardaí will drop from close to €39m last year to €23.5m this year – a drop of 39%. Likewise, expenses among 3,600 prison offers are set to fall from €3.5m last year to €2.6m this year.

Revenue officials are also set to reduce the time they spend scouring the country for tax dodgers with travel costs due to drop by a third from €6.4m last year to €4.3m in 2009 – a savings of over €2m.