It has cost nearly half-a-million Euro to send the Taoiseach and Government ministers around the world on private aircraft so far this year.
New figures released to Newstalk show that the most expensive trip cost the taxpayer around €47,000.
While the Government normally uses commercial flights for air travel, the Government ‘Learjet’ and Air Corps Cara aircraft are used when necessary.
Last year, the Government spent just over €222,000 on private aircraft flights as the pandemic reduced international travel.
In the first eight months of this year however, the Taoiseach and ministers have taken 32 private flights at a cost of €482,000.
People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy told Newstalk it is a waste of money.
“I find it very hard to believe that in all of those cases, there was no alternative and the only way to travel was by Government jet,” he said.
“Instead, what it certainly looks like is that people are choosing to travel in the kind of luxury of a private jet as opposed to travelling with the rest of society on normal planes.”
He said the Government’s use of private aircraft is “excessive.”
“In the vast majority of cases, ministers and the Tánaiste and Taoiseach should be travelling on regular flights with the rest of us as opposed to spending more than ten times as much by going on the Government jet.”
While Government spend on private aircraft is up on last year it is on track to hit a similar level as it did in 2019 – when it spent just over €738,000 across 12 months.
That spend was down 25% on the year before.
The most expensive journey this year was Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's trip to Greece and Cyprus in July, at a cost of about €47,000.
The Department of Finance said the trip was partly related to his role as President of the Eurogroup.
The Department of Defence said the level of flights to date this year is in keeping with the years before the pandemic.