Charlie McConalogue’s insistence on flying economy when on government business overseas has kept his travel bill close to the ground.
As a result, two separate long-haul flights to trade missions this year cost little over €3,500.
In February and April, the Minister for Agriculture attended trade events in the Middle East and the US.
Figures recently provided in a Dáil written response show the total bill for the Minister’s eight flights from the two trade missions to Dubai and Riyadh in February and the US in April was €3,533.
The flight bill for the four-day trade mission to the Expo 2020 Dubai and Riyadh totalled €1,839.09.
The Dáil reply confirmed Minister McConalogue travelled economy class on all flights.
The flight bill for the trade mission to the US in April totalled €1,694.59. The Minister’s four economy-class flights related to destinations in Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Washington DC.
A one-way business-class seat from Dublin to New York JFK for the last Friday in September can range in price from €1,694 to €2,844.
The figures provided also show that Minister McConalogue travelled to a European Council meeting in Luxembourg in June at his own expense, and he paid out €279.89 for the flight.
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture told the Farming Independent: “The Minister travels economy on his request. This is a personal decision and applies to all flights for official duties.
“Officials travelling with the Minister also travel with the Minister in economy.”
Regarding the flight to Luxembourg at the Minister’s own expense, the spokesman said: “The Minister travelled from a family break directly to the monthly AgFish Council of Ministers’ Business in Luxembourg. This is currently being reimbursed.”
Another example of Minister McConalogue’s low-cost travel approach is a €25.91 return flight from Brussels last December.
Accommodation costs for the cost-conscious Minister suggest that he avoids luxury hotel rates when on Government business, as his accommodation costs totalled €130 for a night in Brussels in January, with an outlay on accommodation costing €137.24 in March.
Minister’s McConalogue’s ‘economy’ approach to flying follows reports last month of his Green Party Government colleagues, Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Catherine Martin, using business-class flights on official Government business over the past year.