Ireland’s Ambassador to Britain used the ballroom at the London Embassy for his daughter’s recent wedding – apparently with official approval.
Bobby McDonagh utilized the facility within the lavish London premises for his daughter’s big day last month.
Officials at the Department of Foreign Affairs have defended McDonagh’s use of the state facilities to the Sunday Independent newspaper.
“Ambassadors are not required to seek approval for private or family events held in the residence. The costs of such events are met by the ambassador personally,” a spokesman for the department told the Sunday Independent.
The paper has claimed that more than 150 guests, some of whom came from Ireland, attended the reception in the plush Irish embassy ballroom.
Ambassador McDonagh, who earns almost $250,000 a year in his post, paid for the food and wine but the question of payment for other services provided on the day remains unanswered.
According to the paper, the ambassador’s official car, a 7 series BMW and a second official car, a people carrier, and two chauffeurs were used to ferry guests from the church to the embassy on the day of the ceremony.
McDonagh and his family live in an official residence above the embassy which costs the state $700,000 in rent alone every year.
The Department of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on whether the use of embassy assets, cars or staff for private use was sanctioned.
In a statement to the Sunday Independent, the Department said that ambassadors were not required to seek permission for the use of their residence.
The Department would also not comment to the paper on whether official guidelines exist on the appropriate use of embassy premises and official cars for private functions.