The Irish government has splashed out over $12,000 on photographs with US President Barack Obama – for the private use of Prime Minister Enda Kenny and his cabinet.
The Irish Independent has revealed that Kenny’s Coalition government has spent the huge sum to record their various meetings with the President over the last two years.
They have even paid to have photographs presented as a matter of ‘courtesy’ by the White House reprinted back in Dublin.
The Irish taxpayer has also been hit with a $1300 bill for cabinet photos with President Obama during his first Irish visit last year, according to the paper.
Government officials have confirmed the outlay but the report states that Prime Minister Kenny’s department has refused to release copies of the pictures because they were ‘for personal use only’.
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The Prime Minister’s department is now spending an extra $1200 per month on photography, compared with Brian Cowen’s regime.
The paper states that photos with President Obama during St Patrick’s Day functions at the White House and during his brief visit last May cost over $12,000 over two years and accounted for almost 20 per cent of the department’s total spend on photography in 2010 and 2011.
During his Irish visit last year, President Obama posed for pictures with every cabinet minister and dignitaries including former president Mary Robinson, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, and various representatives of the public sector.
These photos were taken by the official White House photographer and then reprinted by the Department who didn’t charge Ministers for their copies.
A spokeswoman told the Irish Independent: “The pictures were provided as a memento of the occasion, so a contribution was not sought from the subjects.
“They were official photographs and therefore it was appropriate that the cost be met by the Taoiseach’s department.”