It’s late June 2006. Mr O’Donoghue, his wife and his private secretary make their way to London for Royal Ascot. Highlights include:
Stay in the 5-star Hayfield Manor Hotel in Cork, before departing for Cork Airport.
Fly to RAF Farnborough from Cork airport, on a private Beechcraft jet.
Stay at the Pennyhill Park Hotel
Go to PGA Tour lunch at Royal Ascot.
Spend €120 on a hat.
Fly back commercially.
O’Donoghue’s use of Gallagher’s company was highlighted last week by Gavin Sheridan, a blogger. “He has this dressed up like we’re something out of The Sopranos,” said Gallagher. “My father was a Fianna Fail TD, so what? I have to earn a living. Are you not allowed to be in business if you’ve a family in politics?”
It’s November 2006, and a two day jaunt for the Minister and his private secretary to London. Highlights include:
Cabinet meeting in Dublin (breakfast included)
Flight to London (VIP at Dublin airport)
Travel Channel interview
Overnight in London Hilton
Back to Dublin – FAI event
Meet Ossie Kilkenny in Leinster House.
It’s July 2006 and John O’Donoghue goes to Berlin. Kate Ann O’Donoghue goes too. Over €2000 is spent on hotels, and another €377 on VIP services at the airport, and nearly €2,500 on limousines. They were in Berlin from July 7 to July 11.
So two days into the publication of details online, and the crowd are already asking some very interesting questions. First on the list is Cartel. Cartel are listed on the expenses documents as having provided car hire services to the Minister and his entourage. The figures involved are rather startling. We are talking about five figure sums simply for ferrying the minister around. Perhaps the figures are justified in London, but is it value for money? As taxpayers we need to start asking this question.
The directors are Terence Gallagher and Margaret Gallagher, both with addresses in Ealing.
Fifth, why the different addresses? Check out Unit 7A Fleetway Business Park West on Google. Satellite photo. Google Streetview:
Then check out other address at Pennine Drive. Satellite photo. Streetview:
Sixth, ask more questions. Why were the bills that big? Can we get a breakdown of the fees? It should be said, this could easily all be perfectly legit. The problem is, since we don’t have invoices, contracts, tenders, receipts, or really anything – a vacuum of information leads to speculation.
Next up is the O’Donoghue trip to Birmingham via Manchester and London. More costs included: Almost €10,000 on car hire from Cartel (yes that’s what the company is called, owned by Mayo man Terence (Terry) Gallagher, see this thread). Another highlight was a late dinner with JP McManus.
I should note that I am scanning these docs as I got them from the Department. There may be duplicate docs in this, but everything is organised by the respective trip, insofar as possible.
For future reference, If I black out anything, I will state so. All redactions in the documents below were done by the Department.
The lowdown: The minister goes to India with his wife, and his private secretary in 2006. Journalist for the Turbine, Ken Foxe, FOId the details of expenses, and the story broke a few weeks ago.
I requested all the documents released to Mr Foxe, and have begun the process of scanning all of them. Part 1, his trip to India, is below. Two of the documents have been removed by me, simply because there is personal information relating to his private secretary which I believe is not crucial to the story. These documents have been added, with minor redactions. There is no public interest in who the doctor in question is, in my humble opinion, it is simply a doctor.