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Revenue splash €24k on gifts for foreign experts

THE Revenue Commissioners spent thousands of euros showering international tax officials and economic experts with gifts.

The revelation is sure to outrage cash-strapped homeowners forced to cough up hundreds of euros in property tax.

Revenue is deducting the property tax from pay packets and has warned it will pursue those who fail to pay the household charge through the courts.

Meanwhile, figures released by Revenue showed it forked out €24,580 over four years on corporate gifts for delegates at high-level international tax and customs meetings.

Gifts were also bought for economic experts who held workshops for Revenue officials free of charge.

Last year, €2,115 was spent on a silver engraved bookmarks and €1,752 was spent on chocolates for bureaucrats attending European Union Presidency events hosted by Revenue in Dublin.

More than €5,400 was spent on pen sets two years ago and €80 was forked for two crystal bowls.

In 2009, custom-designed plaques set the taxpayer back €6,063 while €1,450 was spent on business card holders.

Other gifts include crystal coasters, ogham plaques and shamrock crystal pieces.

A Revenue spokeswoman said it was “customary” for tax officials to exchange gifts as “gestures of goodwill and/or as a thank you for sharing their time and expertise on issues of relevance”.

“Small gifts are also given as tokens of appreciation to experts for presenting at Revenue workshops or training seminars free of charge,” she added.

“Where appropriate, such gifts are also given to attendees at high level international conferences hosted by Revenue.

“It is in this context that the small gifts outlined were purchased.”

It’s not just officials from Revenue who receive and give gifts, heads of state maintain a similar tradition.

Earlier this month, it emerged that a painting danced’ on to canvas by Michael Flatley was one of the most expensive gifts received by the Taoiseach.