Tuesday, 19 February 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
3. Mr. Bell asked the Taoiseach the guidelines which have been adopted with regard to Ministers of the Government travelling overseas to participate in St. Patrick's Day activities, particularly in relation to payment of their travel and accommodation expenses and officials and spouses accompanying them; and if he will indicate the number of Ministers and Ministers of State who will not be travelling outside the State this St. Patrick's Day.
I will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in this country and while it is too early to give precise details, I expect that the majority of Ministers and Ministers of State will be doing likewise. There are, however, many requests from around the world for the presence of Ministers at St. Patrick's Day ceremonies.
 The guidelines for such visits, as with other ministerial travel plans, provide for them to be carefully co-ordinated so as to ensure the maximum benefit to the State. The number of persons involved, including spouses and officials, and the associated costs, are kept to a minimum. Sometimes certain expenses associated with visits are met by the host organisation. Where they are not otherwise provided for, the expenses of Ministers and the official party are met by the State, in accordance with long standing practice and regulations.
Mr. Bell: First, I hope the Taoiseach has a very pleasant St. Patrick's Day; there is nothing in the question which would suggest that we would not like to see wives accompanying their husbands or husbands accompanying their wives. It would appear, however, that the second part of the question has not been answered. How many Ministers will be staying at home?
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