The press relief justifying this was purgatorially long (nine pages for a press release!). Of course, that immediately aroused suspicions on the basis that the Government doth protest too much.
It was full of spurious claims and half-truths. An inedible concoction stuffed with cheerful prose and garnished with pious piffle.
“A unique even in the global calendar.”
“An unrivalled opportunity to promote modern Ireland overseas.”
Phrases not included: Junket; Jolly; knees-up; waste of taxpayers’ money.
The second worst part of it is the selling of each event as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote trade.
Batteen O’Keeffe slaving away for us in Ho Chi Minh city. If Timmy O’Malley didn’t make it to Osaka, sure wouldn’t the whole of Ireland’s lucrative export potential to the Far East slip down the drain.
The worst part of it was the following line.
“The Taoiseach and Ministers this year will highlight the global threat of climate change and the urgency of acting together to meet this challenge.”
Yeah, sure. With 18 long-haul destinations around the globe (each involving delegations of between four and six) there is no better way to highlight the threat of climate change. See Liam Reid’s story on carbon footprints in the Irish Times (subscription)
When the news of Tony Blair's family holiday to Miami last Christmas was made public, he was forced into stumping up the cost for offsetting the carbon emissions of the long-haul flights. It didn't cost a huge amount, a few hundred quid sterling (see Guardian story on it here). Similarly Irish government ministers flying to far-flung climes should be made stump up to offset their carbon footprints. And that should come from their pockets and not be another freebie that we suckers have to eventually stump up.