Wednesday, February 07, 2007

National Development Plan launch PR cost €340,000; Bertie Ahern's annual make-up bill is €30,000 - just two of the many tax-funded indulgences

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, renowned as "a man of the people" has an annual make-up budget of €30,000 - just short of the annual average industrial wage

Politicians in power find it easy to spend lots of money because it isn't their own.

The Irish Government has estimated that it spent a third of a million euro on producing and presenting the details of its recent National Development Plan last month.

Former Labour leader Ruairi Quinn termed the €340,000 splurge of taxpayers' money on the glossy NDP document and its launch as the "the most expensive election manifesto we have ever seen".

The Minister for Finance disclosed that the cost of the production, printing and translation of the NDP document was "some €265,000. The residual cost of some €75,000 includes costs associated with the production of a multimedia resource for use at the launch, development of the NDP 2007-2013 logo and catering for the event."

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern spends about €30,000 a year on make-up - just below the annual industrial wage.

The Irish Independent reported in June 2005 that Ahern's cosmetics bills are likely to include face and hand moisturisers, shine stopper and blushers, exfoliation products, eye care products, foundations, anti-blemish and anti-wrinkle creams. His bills may also include facemasks, massage oils and neck, facial and manicure treatments.

Ahern's increasing age may lie behind the increased costs for last year. Quality of the products is likely to be at the upper end, although most of the outlay is for make-up artists' wages. Corporate image consultant Frances Jones, from Colour Me Beautiful in Dublin, said that Ahern would get "an awful lot of treatments" for the amount he spends. "He needs to look authoritative and on top of his brief. He always dresses and is groomed very well. He probably has an image consultant because he wears cool colours like grey and navy suits, which suit him."

Jones said it was clear Ahern wore make-up not just on TV, but also regularly when in public. She said his make-up artists would use products to take down high colours, remove dark circles near the eyes, and hide redness, blemishes and wrinkles. "It would make him cool under pressure. It would also make him look younger, healthier, fitter, less tired and more successful."

It's well we've a property boom and that we're still net beneficiaries of the EU budget.

When all the frivolous spending is added up, it sure would amount to more than small change.