The Irish government spent €7,000 on a new rug for ambassador Jim Brennan's home in Vienna, the Daily Mail reports.
The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland recently signed a contract with Galway-based Connemara Carpets for the custom, handwoven rug. Connemara was the winner among the three companies (Ceadogán Rugs and the Dixon Carpet Company were competitors) asked to submit bids in the tendering process.
The director of the firm, Keiran O'Donohue, refused to comment on the cost of the rug.
‘If your agenda is the cost to the State, then I cannot participate in any discussion of it.
‘Do you know the size of the rug? This is not most people’s idea of a rug, it is a large area and most people would call this a carpet.
‘The difference in this case is that a carpet is meant to go wall to wall whereas this does not, and is therefore classed as a rug.’
The Department of Foreign Affairs also declined to comment on whether it was an appropriate use of money considering the parlous state of the country’s finances.
‘We are not in a position to comment on this,’ a spokesman said, adding: ‘The matter is the subject of a separate request under Freedom of Information.’
A Department of Foreign Affairs source first raised the concern over the cost of the rug.
‘It doesn’t really matter how big it is, a rug is a rug and it seems impossible that this money would be spent at the current time,' said the official.
'No matter what its size, €7,000 would carpet a good many houses, upstairs and downstairs.
‘It just seems a throwback to the days when money was a lot more plentiful than it is now.’
'It seems a throwback to when we had money'