Bog oak pens, silver cufflinks and a €310 bottle of Midleton whiskey were among the gifts presented by Secretary of State Simon Coveney over the past two years.
He presented gifts totaling €2,150 to dignitaries, foreign ministers and heads of state on official visits to Ireland and on his trips abroad. The department said a record of gifts received from Mr Coveney was not kept as only items valued at more than €650 need to be recorded.
A list of items explains why Donegal Pens bog oak pens were by far the department’s most popular gift. Priced at €33.50 each, the individual pens were given away to 30 different visitors including the President of Somalia and the High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Tonga.
Small teardrop bowls by ceramic artist Michele Hannan were also a popular choice, with the €65 items being presented nine times. Others received more personal gifts, including Belarusian politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who received an engraved Jerpoint Glass vase worth €55.
Mr Coveney’s most expensive gift was a bottle of Midleton Dair Ghaelach whiskey from Midleton Distillery in Co Cork. The bottle, which cost 310 euros at the Celtic Whiskey Shop, was presented to the Japanese Foreign Minister.
A statement from the department said: “It is international practice to exchange modest gifts between ministers and visiting dignitaries during ministerial and other high-level visits.”
The department said gifts were either of Irish origin or of Irish interest and were bought at “the most economically advantageous cost”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/cufflinks-pens-and-whiskey-simon-coveney-hands-out-gifts-worth-2000-42069691.html Cufflinks, pens and whiskey – Simon Coveney hands out gifts worth 2,000 euros