The visit of Vice President of the United States Joe Biden cost Irish taxpayers $26,000 (€25,000). The VP’s June visit was the single most expensive of any by a visiting dignitary to Ireland in the whole of 2016. His visit took in Dublin, Meath, Louth and his ancestral home of Mayo, as well as meetings with President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
According to newly released accounts from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, just over $11,000 was spent on airport fees for Air Force Two and a further $13,000 was spent on additional transport costs.
However the visit’s costs pale in comparison to a recent trip by the Vice President to Mexico City where US taxpayers were asked to pick up a bill of over half a million dollars in hotel bills for a single night.
The second most expensive visit by a foreign official was that by Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall whose visit to Donegal cost the Irish Government $13,300 on transport costs and nearly $1,350 on photography.
But their visits dwarf those of their respective bosses to Ireland in previous years; Obama’s first to Ireland in 2011 cost a reported $2.6 million and a second three day visit by the whole family whilst the President attended the G8 summit in Fermanagh in 2013 cost more than twice that - $7.67 million.
All figures above exclude security - $37 million of which was allotted for the back to back visits by President Obama and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 2011. The two visits within a matter of weeks of each other by the world’s most high profile Heads of State saw unprecedented security operations in the history of the state.