The Government have been embroiled in further controversy after it was revealed that former Tainaiste Simon Coveney is to retain the use of a €200,000 State car and two Garda drivers.
Coveney was demoted to Foreign Affairs Minister and replaced by Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar as Tanaiste, following the agreement between Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and The Green Party to form a Government.
Outrage has risen over the decision to allow Coveney to keep the car and drivers, after the decision was made by the Taosieach Miachael Martin’s top civil servant - and not approved by the Cabinet.
In 2011, a Government decision was made that State cars should only be available for the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and the Justice Minister.
The ‘behind-closed-doors’ decision, which bypassed any Cabinet debate or approval, follows on the back of huge public outrage at the awarding of a €16,000 pay rise to three ‘super’ junior Ministers from each of the Governing parties - at a time when tens of thousands of people have had their Covi-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payments cut to the level of Jobless payments.
The ‘Coveney Car’ issue is the latest in a series of controversies to hit the Government after the Barry Cowen drink driving scandal, and the revelation that Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has been given an ‘Aide-de-camp’ - a practice only for the President and the Taoiseach to have a military attache who either attends with them or represents them officially at events.