Byline: Ken Foxe PUBLIC AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT
THE Government is spending [euro]7,000 on a bespoke handmade rug for the Irish ambassador's home in Vienna.
The Department of Foreign Affairs recently signed a contract for the carpet with an Irish company, it has been confirmed. The expensive [euro]7,000 floor covering will take pride of place in the ambassador's residence in the Austrian capital.
The department declined to comment on whether it was an appropriate use of money considering the parlous state of the country's finances. 'We are not in a position to comment on this,' a spokesman said, adding: 'The matter is the subject of a separate request under Freedom of Information.' The large rug is to be handwoven and made to a pre-determined design, according to documents obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Three companies were asked to submit bids in the tendering process: Ceadogan Rugs, the Dixon Carpet Company, and Connemara Carpets.
The successful bidder was Galway-based Connemara Carpets. The company said it would not comment on the price charged for the item. A director of the firm, Kieran O'Donohue, said: 'If your agenda is the cost to the State, then I cannot participate in any discussion of it. 'Do you know the size of the rug? This is not most people's idea of a rug, it is a large area and most people would call this a carpet. 'The difference in this case is that a carpet is meant to go wall to wall whereas this does not, and is therefore classed as a rug.' Mr O'Donohue said his firm was a private company that had simply been successful in a tendering competition with the State. …