Wednesday, 2 February 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
353. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, further to Question No. 1362 of 26 January 2005, the cost of each of the trips; and the occasions on which the Government jet was utilised on the trips. [3167/05]
354. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, further to Question No. 1362 of 26 January 2005, the hotel in which the delegation stayed in relation to the trip to Malaysia between 11 and 20 February 2004; if more than one hotel was used, if the delegation or a part thereof relocated during the trip; the cost of hotel accommodation for the group; the travel cost; if a report on the conference was prepared by his Department and by the other Departments that were represented on this trip; if this report was published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3169/05]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Mr. Roche): The seventh meeting of the UNEP conference of the parties to the convention on biological diversity in Malaysia in February 2004 was among the largest events serviced by Ireland as part of its recent EU Presidency. Members of the Irish delegation stayed in the Pan Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur for various periods between 4 and 29 February 2004 in connection both with this meeting and a subsequent related meeting of the parties to the protocol on biosafety.
The ministerial group left Dublin on 11 February and stopped over in Singapore, staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, on the outward journey. The group travelled to Langkawi where, accompanied by the Irish Ambassador to Malaysia, they met representatives of the Malaysian nature society and visited an ecological reserve at Kilim, Langkawi. The ministerial group stayed in the Andaman Hotel, Langkawi, during that period. The total cost of all hotel accommodation for the full Irish delegation for the period mentioned above amounted to €29,316. Total travel costs paid by my Department amounted to €37,816.
Arising from Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union, the Irish delegation had the role of co-ordinating all EU input to the numerous meetings involved and acted as lead negotiator on behalf of the EU at the working groups and plenary sessions. The Minister subsequently reported on the outcome at the meeting of the European Council of Environment Ministers on 2 March 2004. The official report of both meetings is available on the website of the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity at www.biodiv.org.
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