Round-the-clock ­security for Irish diplomats in Kyiv costs taxpayer almost €1m

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spent more than €925,000 last year on private security to keep Irish diplomats safe as they worked in Ukraine.

Eighteen separate payments — ranging from €28,700 to €84,000 — were made to a private security contractor to give 24-hour protection to embassy staff in Kyiv.

The department also spent €58,000 at a four-star hotel in the Ukrainian capital to provide accommodation for employees who continued to work in the dangerous warzone after Russia’s invasion.

A database of more than €65m in DFA spending in 2023 also reveals they racked up costs of €818,000 in dealing with legal cases against the department. The DFA said the payments related to several cases involving the Passport Office and human resources.

A note on the expenditure said: “These costs relate to various settlements of legal cases where the department was represented by the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and advised by the State Claims Agency, as well as the award of legal costs to plaintiffs in one judicial review case.”

Elsewhere, in the United Arab Emirates, €98,000 was spent at the four-star Vida Emirates Hills hotel to provide accommodation for the Irish delegation at last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.

The outlay covered costs for a 68-strong team who stayed in the UAE at various times between November and December 2023.

Four ministers, as well as officials from nine government departments and state agencies had attended the conference.

“The hotel was selected following a procurement process, and the final selection was made based on price, location and suitability for a working delegation,” the DFA said.

​Rental payments for diplomatic residences and embassies continued to prove a major expense for the taxpayer last year.

In the US, nearly €324,000 was paid in rent for a Washington DC property for the Irish ambassador, after her old residence in the US capital was deemed unsafe for habitation.

The DFA has since bought the rented house for around €11m, and sold its former property for an estimated €7.4m.

Multiple refurbishment projects were undertaken last year, ­including the fit-out of official ­accommodation for the consulate general in San Francisco. That included costs of €8,276 paid to Pottery Barn and a further €15,176 to home-furnishing provider Restoration Hardware.

In Japan, the sky-high rent bill for the Irish ambassador’s residence in Tokyo continued to mount up, with €43,000 a month paid for a property there. The DFA is currently developing a new ‘Ireland House’ in the Japanese capital to provide new accommodation.

In China, more than €175,000 was paid for office furniture for ‘Ireland House’ in Shanghai, which will be home to the consulate general, Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.

​There were payments of €550,000 to fit-out a new office for the Irish embassy in Mexico City.

​The DFA database also details more than €250,000 spent on official or state entertainment, much of it for chauffeur hire and airport VIP lounges.

Almost €50,000 was paid to Dublin Airport for platinum services, while just over €140,000 was spent with Optimum Chauffeur Drive for transport.

There were bills of more than €745,000 for removal and storage costs to bring the belongings of diplomatic staff across the globe.

At least €50,000 was spent on “items of artistic value” which included a payment of €24,218 to Sotheby’s in December.

Other costs incurred included €318,000 for translation services in Brussels, €175,000 in conference and seminar fees, just over €22,000 for courses and €72,000 to offset the DFA’s travel carbon footprint.

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

OTHER NEWS

29 minutes ago

Taylor Swift fans welcomed to London with Eras-inspired Tube map

29 minutes ago

Trump cranks up false, inflammatory messages to rake in campaign cash

29 minutes ago

What It's Like To Be On Ozempic Long-Term

29 minutes ago

Kellaway commits to Rugby Australia

32 minutes ago

You'll want to avoid these parts of the North Freeway and Beltway 8 this weekend

32 minutes ago

17-year-old boy drowns near Pleasure Pier in Galveston, beach patrol says

33 minutes ago

Oilers erase 3-0 Stanley Cup Final series deficit and force a Game 7 vs. Panthers

33 minutes ago

Watch: Dogs catch waves in California surfing contest

34 minutes ago

New Pistons president Trajan Langdon doesn't give timeline on coaching search, team rebuild

34 minutes ago

Just 16, Quincy Wilson sets a 400 record and takes aim at Paris Olympics

34 minutes ago

Hundreds of Coffee Products Recalled Over Fears of Deadly Toxin

34 minutes ago

Rams News: Matthew Stafford's Hall of Fame Odds Boosted by Former LA Star

34 minutes ago

Yes, Harry Kane must sharpen up... but this England team is set up for its captain to fail

34 minutes ago

Scientist warns of ‘very scary’ nature decline as green groups unite to protest

34 minutes ago

Turkey vs Portugal probable lineups - Euro 2024

34 minutes ago

Malo Santo CEO on the risks and rewards of AI

34 minutes ago

Melinda Gates endorses Biden for president, says stakes for women 'couldn't be higher'

34 minutes ago

Taylor Wily's family issue touching tributes to late Hawaii Five-0 star: 'Singing for their uncle Tee'

34 minutes ago

AmEx to buy restaurant booking platform Tock for $400 million

34 minutes ago

Meath aim to capitalise on any Tipp slip as last-eight spot beckons

41 minutes ago

Stanley Cup Final: Edmonton Oilers force Game 7 with 5-1 defeat over Florida Panthers

41 minutes ago

Teamsters, Basic Crafts Put Pressure On AMPTP To “Set The Tone” For Remainder Of Talks Ahead Of IATSE’s Return To Table

42 minutes ago

Here's Why The Honda Element Was Discontinued

42 minutes ago

Toxic Positivity? Steelers' Wilson Accused of Being 'Delusional'

42 minutes ago

Three is a magic number: Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington each looking for three straight titles

42 minutes ago

Post Malone Is Going Country With New Album and Blake Shelton Song

46 minutes ago

SpaceX's Starlink To Supply Internet To Comcast Business Customers

46 minutes ago

The Copa America is the best preparation for the World Cup, says Mexico coach Lozano

46 minutes ago

Chile hold Peru to 0-0 draw in Copa America opener

47 minutes ago

Oilers erase 3-0 Stanley Cup Final deficit and force a Game 7 vs. Panthers

47 minutes ago

Semien's 3-run double caps 5-run sixth inning as Rangers beat Royals

48 minutes ago

Inside the grassroots Tory battle to win Labour’s target seats

48 minutes ago

Australia approves $23 million humanitarian aid for displaced Africans

48 minutes ago

Opening Bell: June 21, 2024

48 minutes ago

F1 rocked as police probe Hamilton 'sabotage' claim

48 minutes ago

Diana Taurasi Getting Roasted Online Over Caitlin Clark's WNBA All-Star Voting

48 minutes ago

Bengals QB Joe Burrow sends Reds' Elly De La Cruz autographed jersey

48 minutes ago

Exclusive-Amazon mulls $5 to $10 monthly price tag for unprofitable Alexa service, AI revamp

48 minutes ago

Giant 200-mile-long dust storm blowing across US is visible from SPACE

50 minutes ago

This London Property Has the Highest Hotel Pool in Western Europe — and It's Located Inside One of the City's Most Famous Skyscrapers