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US trips for Paddy’s Day cost Council nearly €47k

June 28th, 2022 10:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Tim Lucey: Chicago visit.

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By KEN FOX

CORK County Council spent almost €47,000 sending five councillors and six officials to New York, Chicago and Detroit for St Patrick’s Day.

It racked up a near €18,000 bill for flights and a further €17,366 in costs at a range of US hotels for the celebrations.

There was also a US$1,100 bill at the upmarket Gage restaurant in Chicago.

A parade day brunch at the Emerald Loop Bar and Grill cost another $1,564 while transport ‘transfer’ costs, including limo hire on the trip, totalled more than €3,600.

The single largest bill on the trip was for the cost of accommodation at the four-star Hilton Chicago where an invoice was paid for just over €9,500.

More than US$8,500 in receipts were also submitted for repayment, according to a log of costs released by the Council under FOI.

A breakdown of the spending shows that €14,106 was spent on flights between Ireland and New York and Chicago. Another €2,901 was spent on internal flights to Detroit, with a further €739 spent on a flight to New York.

Hotel costs for the trip included €9,920 in accommodation bills paid in Chicago, €3,226 in Detroit  and €4,220 in New York.

A breakdown of other expenditure details spending of $7,773 on ‘food and entertainment’, a further $328 on taxis, and $411 in miscellaneous costs. The group that travelled comprised county mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan and Cllr Cathal Rasmussen, (Chicago and New York); Cllrs Mary Linehan Foley and Michael Hegarty, (Chicago); Cllr Ian Doyle, (Detroit); Council chief executive, Tim Lucey, (Chicago); officials Clodgah Henehan, (New York); Mairead Lucey, (Chicago and New York); Enda O’Halloran, (Detroit); Lisa O’Riordan and Mary Hickey, (Chicago). A statement from Cork County Council said: ‘[The local authority] avails of the unique opportunity that the St Patrick’s period offers, which attracts levels of publicity unmatched by the national day of any other country, providing a unique opportunity to showcase Cork county, and Ireland, from both a tourism and investment perspective.’

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