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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the five most expensive hospitality events hosted by his Department and its agencies were in the last three years; and what the (a) cost and (b) purpose was of each. (324416)

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is responsible for hosting events, recorded as expenditure under hospitality, which acknowledge the contribution made by a wide range of people to life in Northern Ireland. These include receptions at Hillsborough Castle for representatives from the voluntary, charity and business sectors as well as the police, armed forces and their families (including those returning from active service in Afghanistan), to recognise their contribution to wider society.

The five events hosted by the Northern Ireland Office over the past three years which have incurred the greatest expenditure are shown in the following table.

Date

Venue

£

Annual Royal Garden Party attended by HRH Princess Anne

May 2009

Hillsborough Castle

72,231.64

This event held to acknowledge the contribution made by a wide range of people to life in Northern Ireland. The 2,500 guests included representatives from the voluntary, charity and business sectors as well as the police, armed forces and their families (including those returning from active service in Afghanistan), to recognise their contribution to wider society.

Annual Royal Garden Party attended by HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall

May 2008

Hillsborough Castle

86,996.18

This event held to acknowledge the contribution made by a wide range of people to life in Northern Ireland. The 2,500 guests included representatives from the voluntary, charity and business sectors as well as the police, armed forces and their families (including those returning from active service in Afghanistan), to recognise their contribution to wider society.

Annual Royal Garden Party attended by HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Duchess of Cornwall

May 2007

Hillsborough Castle

73,698.35

This event held to acknowledge the contribution made by a wide range of people to life in Northern Ireland. The 2,500 guests included representatives from the voluntary, charity and business sectors as well as the police, armed forces and their families (including those returning from active service abroad), to recognise their contribution to wider society.

Royal Garden Party attended by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh

June 2007

University of Ulster, Coleraine

73,902.33

Royal Garden Party held to acknowledge the contribution made specifically by those living in the north and north-west of Northern Ireland. 2,000 guests included representatives from the voluntary, charity and business sectors as well as the police, armed forces and their families.

Royal Garden Party attended by HRH Princess Anne

May 2007

Hillsborough Castle

64,318.58

This event was held to specifically acknowledge the unique contribution made by those working in the Northern Ireland Prison Service throughout the years of conflict in Northern Ireland. The 2,000 guests were drawn from current and former employees of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and their families.