Subscriber OnlyPolitics

Spending on Biden visit by Department of Foreign Affairs came to €558,470

Communications costs, chauffeur-driven vehicles, airport charges and antigen tests among spending during April trip

Spending on communications, chauffeur-driven vehicles, airport charges and antigen tests were all included as part of €558,470 in spending by the Department of Foreign Affairs during the visit of US President Joe Biden earlier this year.

Mr Biden had several engagements across counties Louth, Dublin and Mayo during his visit to the Republic over three days in April.

The cost of the Garda security operation topped €31 million, accounting for by far the largest portion of State expenditure on the visit.

When the spend by the Department of Foreign Affairs and a further €285,000 spend by other state agencies is added, the costs approach €32 million.


The bulk of the spending by the Department of Foreign Affairs – about €366,700 - related to communications, according to records released under the Freedom of Information Act.

This includes the costs associated with setting up a press centre for national and international journalists at Dublin Castle and costs at other location such as Dublin and Knock airports and Farmleigh House.

A total of €139,250 of this spending was with Actavo, a company that provides events infrastructure.

Media accreditation security badges cost €12,550 from another supplier and photography costs for the duration of the visit came to just under €12,000.

Some €83,967 was spent on the “hire of coach and bus for media” - both Irish and international - for the duration of the visit from a company called Optimum Chauffeur Drive.

Another €67,550 was spent with the same company for other transport costs related to the visit by Mr Biden.

Taxi fares with Lynk Taxis came in at €1,692.

Almost €20,700 was spent with DAA, the operators of Dublin Airport, for what’s described in the records as ramp transfers related to Mr Biden as well as US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

Accommodation for Department staff at various hotels in Louth, Dublin and Mayo cost just under €31,000.

Department of Foreign Affairs staff overtime costs came to €31,100 and travel and subsistence claims were almost €10,700.

Thirty umbrellas were bought from Dunnes Stores at a cost of €450, and €59.95 was spent there on antigen test kits. A further €241.44 was spent on antigen tests in Boots.

Mr Biden arrived in Northern Ireland on Tuesday, April 11th. His first engagements south of the Border were on the next day when he visited Carlingford Castle and Dundalk in Louth, a county from which some of his ancestors hail.

He visited the capital on Thursday, April 13th, where he addressed the Houses of the Oireachtas and also attended a banquet in his honour in Dublin Castle. The following day saw him travel to Mayo – another ancestral home – where, among other engagements, he addressed a crowd of about 20,000 in Ballina before leaving Ireland to return to the US later that evening

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times