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  1. #1
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    Ministerial Air Transport Service

    Shatter broke Cabinet rules over State jet

    Justice Minister Alan Shatter has been reprimanded by the Taoiseach for breaking strict Cabinet rules on the use of a government jet.

    Mr Shatter booked the Government 's Learjet for a return trip from Brussels without first seeking approval from Enda Kenny's office.

    The Department of An Taoiseach wrote to the Justice Minister about the breach of policy and his officials were forced to admit they "regretted" the "confusion" caused by the violation of government rules.

    Use of both the Gulf Stream IV and the Learjet have been closely monitored by the Taoiseach's department since Mr Kenny made a commitment in his Programme for Government to reduce ministerial air miles.

    Ministers are required to make an application in writing to the Taoiseach's department outlining their reasons for not taking significantly cheaper commercial flights.

    The Cabinet Handbook states: "The relative cost of Ministerial Air Transport Service travel to possible alternatives should always be borne in mind in preparing travel plans."

    Mr Shatter, who will be in Mexico for St Patrick's Day, clocked up a €267,110 bill travelling around the globe in state-owned private jets last year.

    In November, the Taoiseach's department wrote to his office asking for why Mr Shatter requested the Air Corps to pick him up in Brussels without first seeking approval.

    He was attending an EU defence ministers' meeting with four other officials when he asked for the Learjet to return him to Dublin on November 19.

    Two days later, Mr Kenny's private secretary highlighted the cabinet rules on ministerial air travel and wrote: "This is to be observed with regard to all missions."

    He added: "Please set out the circumstances as to why this was not observed on this occasion."

    Mr Shatter's private secretary replied the next day, explaining that the jet was requested because airline strikes in Belgium would have delayed his return to Dublin.

    He acknowledged that "normal procedure" was not followed and said the minister intended to inform the Taoiseach but did not get the opportunity.


    "It was the minister's intention to brief the Taoiseach personally on his return as to the circumstances which gave rise to the flight.

    "However, because of pressure of time and his need to travel to Brussels again on Thursday morning, he did not get an opportunity to do so before your letter was issued," the reply stated.

    "Any confusion which may have arisen in regard to this matter is regretted."

    Junior Minister for European Affairs Paschal Donohue and two of his officials accompanied Mr Shatter and his four staff. The cost of the one-and-a-half hour journey from Belgium was €926 per passenger. A similar ticket with Aer Lingus would cost around €65.

    Mr Shatter had previously booked the government jet for the Brussels trip, but cancelled it in favour of commercial flights, according to officials in the Taoiseach's Department.

    CRUCIAL

    A Justice Department spokeswoman said the minister had a number of commitments that week and it was "absolutely crucial" that he come back to Dublin that evening.

    The following week, the Department of Defence booked "back-up" commercial flights costing more than €16,000 for Mr Shatter and five officials after receiving permission to take the jet on a state visit to the Middle East.

    These flights were subsequently cancelled and the department incurred cancellation fees totalling €725.16.

    The taxpayer was billed €64,260 for flying the minister and his delegation between Lebanon, Jordan and Israel during the official visit.

    While in Jordan, Mr Shatter's private secretary spent €488 on "entertainment" in the luxury Sheraton Hotel in Amman, according to expense claims.

    He did not provide a detailed receipt for the spending, but the Department of Defence said that it was spent on food and drinks for 15 people.

    A spokeswoman said: "This was a working dinner attended by representatives of the UN, EU External Action Service and NGOs."

    Mr Shatter's wife, Carol, joined him on a two-day state visit to Lithuania for EU ministers of justice and home affairs meetings in July last year.

    They stayed in the five-star Radisson Blu Astorija in the capital, Vilnius, at the expense of the Lithuanian government.

    While the minister and the rest of the delegates took part in high-level meetings, his wife and the spouses of other attendees enjoyed sightseeing trips around the "mysteries of the Old Town".

    A Justice Department spokeswoman said it was "often forgotten" the amount of work the minister did in his dual roles as head of the Department of Justice and the Department of Defence. She said: "He's one minister running two separate departments. There's no question of him not working hard."
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news...-30094781.html

  2. #2
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    No opportunity to put the shoe to the smart arse of Alan Shatter will be allowed to pass. Unwritten rule of FG and FF. No matter how good he is, they still hate him, because he is not a culchie/is a southside Dub/is smarter than them all........

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    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    One of the major benefits of MATS is that they are available at short notice without the need to book flights - does the need for written permission not defeat the object ?

    Oh and the reduced use of the GIV and Learjet actually pushes up the cost per flight hour, due to the fact that there are less hours to cover the fixed cost

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    No opportunity to put the shoe to the smart arse of Alan Shatter will be allowed to pass. Unwritten rule of FG and FF. No matter how good he is, they still hate him, because he is not a culchie/is a southside Dub/is smarter than them all........
    Also easy to understand. does not have a purple face or wear brown boots with blue suits. or go ta mass an a Sun da
    Last edited by sofa; 15th March 2014 at 21:25.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    One of the major benefits of MATS is that they are available at short notice without the need to book flights - does the need for written permission not defeat the object ?
    Step 1. Call Enda "Can I use the Jet this wkend"
    Step 2. Enda says yes
    Step 3. Go on trip and get underlings to arrange paperwork.
    Everyone who's ever loved you was wrong.

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    One of the major benefits of MATS is that they are available at short notice without the need to book flights - does the need for written permission not defeat the object ?
    Nope - it is an expensive asset, and it's use needs to be managed accordingly
    As TRJ says, I'm sure there are protocols in place, all the Minister (or his minions) had to do was to follow them
    Own goal for DoD there... even more so when I see the €64K expenditure (plus €700+) on the Govt jet versus an expenditure of €16K !!!
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

  9. #7
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    Absolutely TD but:

    If it was a case of a phone call, they wouldn't book "back-up commercial flights" as they would have the answer quicker than it took to book the flight.

  10. #8
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    It's all about political point-scoring and not about the money. Inda couldn't give a rat's ass about a few grand's worth of kerosene. Against the grand scheme of our "public" debt, it's nothing. This is about gouging an unpopular Minister.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Absolutely TD but:

    If it was a case of a phone call, they wouldn't book "back-up commercial flights" as they would have the answer quicker than it took to book the flight.
    True
    "Well, stone me! We've had cocaine, bribery and Arsenal scoring two goals at home. But just when you thought there were truly no surprises left in football, Vinnie Jones turns out to be an international player!" (Jimmy Greaves)!"

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    Alan Shatter took government jet after being refused use

    Justice Minister Alan Shatter was officially told that he could not take a government jet to Brussels – before he broke cabinet rules and booked a state-owned private plane without permission.

    The Irish Independent earlier revealed how Mr Shatter was reprimanded by the Taoiseach’s office for ordering a government jet to pick him up from a European Union engagement.

    The minister’s office was forced to admit that it “regretted” the infringement of strict cabinet guidelines after Enda Kenny's department had demanded an explanation for the flight.

    This newspaper has since learned that Mr Shatter made a formal application to take the jet to the EU defence ministers’ meeting – but this was rejected by Mr Kenny’s officials.

    Cabinet members must apply in writing to the Taoiseach’s department for use of either the Gulf Stream IV or the Lear Jet. The rules were issued to ministers after Fine Gael and the Labour Party made election promises to reduce the number of air miles clocked up by jet-setting politicians.

    Documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show Mr Shatter applied to take the jet on a one-day round trip to Brussels on November 19 last year. It later transpired that meetings would take place over two days and the minister’s office withdrew the request and sent in an updated application.

    The second request form stated that the minister was scheduled to attend three meetings in Brussels and needed to return on the following day to open a conference in Ireland.

    It added: “If the minister is to fulfil his Defence and Justice obligations, the government jet is his only option.”

    A spokesman for the Taoiseach said a “phone conversation” took place with the Department of Defence after the second application and the request was turned down. The spokesman said: “We didn’t interpret it as a refusal; we thought it wasn’t going any further after the phone conversation. But Defence obviously interpreted it as a refusal because they were not going to get the jet.”

    However, despite having been told he could not use the jet, Mr Shatter then bypassed the Taoiseach and contacted the Air Corps while in Brussels because he feared that he would be stranded due to airline strikes.

    Permission

    The government-owned Lear Jet then flew the minister and four of his staff, along with European Affairs Minister Paschal Donohoe and two of his officials, back to Dublin.

    The taxpayer-funded trip cost €926 per passenger. Similar commercial flights would cost around €65.

    The Taoiseach’s office wrote to the Justice Minister’s department two days after he returned from Brussels, demanding to know why he did not seek permission to use the jet.

    The minister’s private secretary explained that Mr Shatter booked the jet because of airline strikes and said he planned to “brief the Taoiseach personally” on his return.

    “Any confusion which may have arisen in regard to this matter is regretted,” he added.
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news...-30121737.html

  13. #11
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    I think the use of the Govt jet may be he least of his worries at the moment.

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    Government jet may be grounded by lack of repair budget

    No provision made to repair or replace Gulfstream IV, briefing documents show


    The Government jet has amassed 13,110 flying hours in almost two and a half decades in service

    One of the two Government jets, the 23-year-old Gulfstream IV aircraft, will be grounded if any non-routine maintenance or other major repair arises, briefing documents prepared by the Department of Defence show.

    The documents, prepared for the Taoiseach, who assumed the role of Minister for Defence following Alan Shatter’s resignation, say there was no provision made in the 2014 budget for the replacement of the jet, which has amassed 13,110 flying hours in almost two and a half decades in service. It will remain in service as long as it requires only routine maintenance. There is no plan to sell the aircraft.

    Between March 2011 and the end of March 2014 the current Government spent ¤4.4 million on the Ministerial AAir Transport Service. Of the 218 trips made in this time, 110 were taken on the Gulfstream at a cost of €2.6 million.

    A second jet used for the service, the Learjet, will remain in operation.

    Elsewhere the documents show two court cases have been taken by former members of the Defence Forces living in Defence-owned “married quarters”, while other cases are being prepared.

    According to the briefing documents there are about 50 properties occupied by “overholders”, the term it uses to describe former members who have refused to leave married quarters within 21 days of discharge or retirement.

    The documents also show the department spent almost €4 million on 489 litigation cases in 2013; the figure is estimated to be €5 million this year.Of the €3.8 million spent in 2013, €2.3 million related to awards and settlements including those arisingfrom personal injury claims taken against the Minister for Defence and compensation for damage or injury caused by military vehicles. The claims also encompass payments made in relation to administrative law cases, for example those arising from the discharge of members of the Defence Forces and cases involving decisions takenfollowing individuals failing compulsory random drug tests.

    The remaining €1.5 related to legal and medical costs.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irela...dget-1.1812976

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    Let's hope no non routine servicing issues arise then but TBH it's sad to see it come to this. What I mean by this is the lack of support from the DoD for the AC MATS service, laid bare in a fanciful briefing document to the Taoiseach as the current incumbent. Yes the aircraft may be getting on in years but surely in the absence of ANY forward planning for a replacement, it makes sense to provide for the ongoing maintenance of this superb State asset.

    So who's really deciding policy then? Shall we ask Mr Shatter if he endorsed this?
    Last edited by Pure Hover; 29th May 2014 at 19:15.

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    you're dealing with chimps. I do think a MATS flight is a necessity, even in tough times and commercial flights are not always suitable for many reasons. I have stated here before that a MATS flight, along the lines of the French GLAM set-up, which would be under the direct control of the Dept of Foreign Affairs is, in my opinion, the best way to do it. MATS has always been the source of friction between the DoD and DoFA. It should really be demilitarised and operated as a direct civil Government flight, instead of consuming a large portion of the AC's budget. It should come from the Taoiseach's budget or the DoFA's purse, as they are the main users and beneficiaries. They should also have their own helicopter(s)

    regards
    GttC

    PS: in the current climate, picking up a decent second-hand jet is easy. Running the current jet into the ground makes no sense and it'll end up being chopped up like 240.

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    I think some are reading too much into this. The G4 is an old aircraft. Remember it was bought when CJ Haughey was Taoiseach. It was bought by charvet Charlie as a status symbol. He wanted an exec jet like all the other rich boys, and to hell with the country's finances. It even went on a round the world trip, just to prove that it could. He even picked the carpets. It has been demonstrated in recent times that the smaller type is more practical for most journeys where the scheduled flights are not available.

    The days of the Minister taking his wife shopping in NY with the G4 are long gone, thank god.
    When it is beyond economical repair, it will be disposed of. We can hope then that a more adaptable replacement aircraft is provided, Maybe some sort of mid range freight/passenger Jet.
    If HMQE2 can do without the queens flight, then Enda can too.

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  21. #16
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    Would an overhaul count?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    you're dealing with chimps. I do think a MATS flight is a necessity, even in tough times and commercial flights are not always suitable for many reasons. I have stated here before that a MATS flight, along the lines of the French GLAM set-up, which would be under the direct control of the Dept of Foreign Affairs is, in my opinion, the best way to do it. MATS has always been the source of friction between the DoD and DoFA. It should really be demilitarised and operated as a direct civil Government flight, instead of consuming a large portion of the AC's budget. It should come from the Taoiseach's budget or the DoFA's purse, as they are the main users and beneficiaries. They should also have their own helicopter(s)

    regards
    GttC

    PS: in the current climate, picking up a decent second-hand jet is easy. Running the current jet into the ground makes no sense and it'll end up being chopped up like 240.
    Maybe the DOD/AC should recharge the other Departments for the fuel/variable cost/total cost?

    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmití View Post
    I think some are reading too much into this. The G4 is an old aircraft. Remember it was bought when CJ Haughey was Taoiseach. It was bought by charvet Charlie as a status symbol. He wanted an exec jet like all the other rich boys, and to hell with the country's finances. It even went on a round the world trip, just to prove that it could. He even picked the carpets. It has been demonstrated in recent times that the smaller type is more practical for most journeys where the scheduled flights are not available.

    The days of the Minister taking his wife shopping in NY with the G4 are long gone, thank god.
    When it is beyond economical repair, it will be disposed of. We can hope then that a more adaptable replacement aircraft is provided, Maybe some sort of mid range freight/passenger Jet.
    If HMQE2 can do without the queens flight, then Enda can too.
    QE2 still has a Royal flight just not used as much.

    The advantage the GIV of course is range and carrying capacity. Is the Learjet transatlantic?

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    Does it need to be? We are European union members, not USA. If Barry wants us, he can send a plane to collect us. They are in Shannon regularly.

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    Have to agree with GTTC - a properly resourced MATS is a necessity for a busy European democracy. It allows senior Government delegations that essential freedom of movement that civil carriers cannot provide. In the absence of any clear policy direction epitomised by the last two governments, the permanent gov't have done what they do best i.e. nothing. Hence the current shambolic situation where a top of the range GOVERNMENT JET, for want of a relatively minor repair or maint can be rendered unserviceable, directly affecting state business.

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    While a proper MATS service might be necessary for modern diplomacy. I don't think in the current economic climate the government could be seen by the press or the people to be throwing money on a 20+ year old aircraft which many people see as a millionaires toy. Nor could they be seen to be spending money on a new VIP only aircraft. Remember when Bertie tried to replace it 10 years ago.

    The only way they could replace it is with an aircraft like the C40 clipper, e.g. a multi role aircraft that could do Troop transport, humanitarian missions and MATS missions.
    Last edited by CTU; 29th May 2014 at 22:07.
    Well, government doesn't stop just because the country's been destroyed! I mean, annihilation’s bad enough without anarchy to make things even worse!

  26. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    ...QE2 still has a Royal flight just not used as much...
    barely used at all - 32 Sqn is a military communications and support Squadron, not a VIP transport Squadron - its 125's and 146's are far more likely to be seen in Afghanistan or anywhere an aircraft with secure communications and a Defensive Aids Suite is required than taking the Royals or Cabinet Ministers anywhere. it might take, for example, the CDS and his staff on a magical mystery tour of NATO capitals because doing it commercially would be a bit of a pig, but only if it wasn't needed elsewhere.

    UK ministers almost always use commercial flights, and if the PM goes somewhere with a decent size staff he charters a plane from BA. only if he goes to Afghanistan or Somalia does he go by military aircraft, and then by C-17/Voyager/C-130.

    Ireland does need access to a quickly available passenger carrying aircraft to get ministers around at short notice or in time frames that the commercial carriers just can't match - but i think its ridiculous to think it needs to own two such aircraft, or that it needs transatlantic reach. the transport role for the AC is military pax and cargo, patient transfer, and then MATS - the aircraft used should reflect that, so a cargo aircraft with LifePort and some bolt-in seating is the answer, not a couple of biz jets that are bog-all use for anything else.
    Last edited by ropebag; 29th May 2014 at 23:15.

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  28. #21
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTU View Post
    Remember when Bertie tried to replace it 10 years ago.
    .
    Bertie wanted to buy a 45 seater 737 !

    Quote Originally Posted by ropebag View Post
    barely used at all - 32 Sqn is a military communications and support Squadron, not a VIP transport Squadron - its 125's and 146's are far more likely to be seen in Afghanistan or anywhere an aircraft with secure communications and a Defensive Aids Suite is required than taking the Royals or Cabinet Ministers anywhere. it might take, for example, the CDS and his staff on a magical mystery tour of NATO capitals because doing it commercially would be a bit of a pig, but only if it wasn't needed elsewhere.

    UK ministers almost always use commercial flights, and if the PM goes somewhere with a decent size staff he charters a plane from BA. only if he goes to Afghanistan or Somalia does he go by military aircraft, and then by C-17/Voyager/C-130.
    true but they still have access

    What aircraft touched down in Baldonnel?

  29. #22
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    32 Sqdn have been in Baldonnel many times. I waved in one of their 146s a few times.....the problem with Irish MATS was the tendency to misuse it, such as a certain former minister going out of her way to open an off-license for a friend or for a certain former minister to send his child home, which is why the Irish public always associate it with waste and scandals, instead of it's genuine utility to the State.

    regards
    GttC

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  31. #23
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    The certain minister used the Casa to open her now husbands Off Licence, I believe.

  32. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmití View Post
    The certain minister used the Casa to open her now husbands Off Licence, I believe.
    Ya mean someone was daft enough to marry her.....[musta needed that obscene pension].
    "We will hold out until our last bullet is spent. Could do with some whiskey"
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  34. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by na grohmití View Post
    The certain minister used the Casa to open her now husbands Off Licence, I believe.
    It wasn't her husband's (not that that makes it better).
    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news...-26062024.html
    Last edited by Bravo20; 31st May 2014 at 07:19.

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