LIMERICK City and County Council spent €100,000 sending 19 councillors and eight officials to New York, Savannah and London for St Patrick’s Day celebrations.
It was almost a third of the total spend for all Irish local authorities on foreign travel for this year’s national holiday.
According to figures released to the Sunday Independent under Freedom of Information legislation, the council spent more than €27,000 on flights and over €47,000 on hotel accommodation for their three trips.
Accommodation for the various trips was at the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia, a four-star hotel in the heart of the city’s historic core; the four-star Fitzpatrick Hotel in New York; and the four-star Caesar boutique hotel in London’s Hyde Park.
Other bills included €1,000 to hire a minibus to bring a delegation up and down to Dublin Airport, and multiple large restaurant bills for receptions.
These included spending US$1,355 at Bobby Van’s steakhouse in New York, US$1,466 at Rosie O’Grady’s Restaurant, also in New York, and US$1,295 at 700 Drayton in Savannah. The bill for Lord Mayor Councillor Daniel Butler came to around €6,800, with the mayor visiting London, Savannah, Greenville in South Carolina, and New York.
Other councils were far more economical in comparison, with just a single representative from Leitrim travelling to New York at a total cost of €1,937.
Galway City Council also kept costs to a minimum, taking advantage of a free hotel stay in Seattle for their representatives for a total St Patrick’s Day bill of less than €5,000.
In an information note, Limerick City and County Council said all the trips had been approved by the council and were a success.
Reporting on his visit, Limerick Mayor Daniel Butler wrote: “I am satisfied that the objectives of promoting Limerick and highlighting the potential of closer relations in cities such as London and Savannah were met.”