Written Answers - Departmental Expenditure

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 713 No. 1

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  317.  Deputy Lucinda Creighton  Information on Lucinda Creighton  Zoom on Lucinda Creighton   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin   the number of departmental credit cards in use in his Department; the names of the authorised signatories of same; the credit limit of same; the amount spent in respect of each card in each of the past three years with a breakdown of the annual bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26566/10]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Deputy Micheál Martin): Information on Micheál Martin  Zoom on Micheál Martin  The Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for two Votes: Vote 28 Foreign Affairs and Vote 29 International Cooperation. The Department operates a restrictive policy for the use of corporate credit cards for official expenditure. The use of credit cards in making payments is subject to the same authorisation and control procedures as other forms of payment. While the credit card companies require [226]that the accounts be operated by named authorised signatories, it must be stressed that they are used exclusively for official, rather than personal use and commingling is not allowed.

There are currently 6 official credit cards in use by the Department in Ireland (3 for Vote 28 and 3 for Vote 29). A list of authorised signatories for these official credit cards; the credit limits on the cards, and details of the amount spent on each card in the past three years are set out in the following tabular form. Please note that credit limits do not apply in the case of American Express cards, but that these accounts must be paid in full every month. Official credit cards may be permitted for use at Missions abroad subject to Headquarters approval and compliance with the Department’s policies on use of official credit cards. There are currently 12 official credit cards in use by Missions, all of which relate to Vote 28 Missions.

I regret that it is not possible to provide the Deputy with a breakdown of the annual bills in the time available. The use of official credit cards may be permitted for officials who, because of the nature of their work, need to make official payments on credit from time to time. Credit cards are typically used to make occasional flight and hotel bookings, for representational purposes and for making sundry payments, at short notice, where cash may not be acceptable or where the cost involved would otherwise be too great to be met from an officer’s own resources. The issue of a credit card to the Department’s librarian is to facilitate the purchase on-line of books and information materials relevant to the work of the Department, and the Finance Unit credit card is used for miscellaneous purchases and subscriptions.

Office Holder of Credit Card Number of Cards Credit Limit Authorised Signatories Amount Spent 2007 Amount Spent 2008 Amount Spent 2009
Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs Headquarters)
Minister’s Private Secretary 1 N/A (AMEX) Sinead Ryan 124 (Cancelled in 2009)
Private Secretary/ Minister of State (Vote 28) 1 N/A (AMEX) John Freir 5,186 2,898 955
Secretary General 1 N/A (AMEX) Dermot Gallagher 1,795 Cancelled
Chief of Protocol 1 N/A (AMEX) Kathleen White 2,765 190 295 (Cancelled in 2009)
Deputy Chief of Protocol 1 N/A (AMEX) Joseph Brennan 699 766 793 (Cancelled in 2009)
Head of Anglo Irish Division 1 N/A (AMEX) Patrick Hennessy 3,409 4,492 272 (Cancelled in 2009)
Finance Unit (Vote 28) (VISA) 1 5,000 Anne O’Keeffe 1,565 806
Librarian (VISA) 1 4,000 Orla Gillen 16,593 16,437 9,476
Minister’s Advisers × 2 (one card each) 2 N/A (AMEX) Richard Moore 2,540 1,512 Cancelled May 2008 60 (Stamp Duty arising in 2008)
Ciaran O Cuinn
Vote 29 (Irish Aid)
Minister of State 1 N/A (AMEX) Minister of State Peter Power N/A 2,109 976
Minister of State Michael Kitt 65 886 N/A
Minister of State Conor Lenihan 485 N/A N/A
Private Secretary to Minister of State 1 N/A (AMEX) Owen Feeney N/A N/A 194
Sheila Duffy N/A 3,562 5,708
Ultan Waldron 1,694 N/A N/A
Finance Unit 1 5,000 Michael Tiernan 715 156 63

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