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 Questions and Answers - Heckle Here

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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:39 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
johnfás wrote:
It costs 8,000 an hour, in fuel alone, to keep the Government Gulfstream which has a capacity of 14 passengers, in the air.

Can you back that up Johnfas? Is that the cost at cruising altitude? I am no expert but it sounds way off the mark to me.

Private jets are outrageously inefficient beings. The cost of running a midsized private jet is not appreciably different from the cost of running a Boeing 737. Main difference is you get 14 people on a Gulfstream compared to 189 on a Boeing 737-800 with economy only seating.

See below a graph of fuel costs for private jets, denominated in dollars. The one I have boxed in red is the model of aircraft which the Air Corps uses for transatlantic Government business. We also have a learjet but it only generally used for flights within Europe. The learjet is a model half way between the two learjets in the chart below, but as I said it is not the plane used for transatlantic flights as it only has an endurance of 4 hours. It does fly to Brussels on an almost daily basis though.

According to the Air Corps website both the Learjet and the Gulfstream generally operate 7 days per week usually in a transport role for Government Ministers.



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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:32 pm

I am not sure what costs your link is based on. It is not a fuel cost but rather the cost of flying. It may be the charter or time share cost which is done in blocks of 25 hours and presumably includes leasing charges, all airport charges and administration.

http://www.camagueyanos.com/wwwboard/mensajes/87240.html
"Private planes, take for instance your typical commercial jet, a Boeing 737, well, it seats a maximum of 189 people, it burns 800 gallons of fuel per hour and emits 16,880 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour in the air. Now take a Gulfstream 400, one of the more common brands of private jet. Well, it seats a maximum of only 19 people, it burns 415 gallons of fuel an hour and emits 8,785 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour. That means per passenger a Boeing 737 emits 89 pounds of carbon dioxide an hour while Gulfstream and similar private jets emit 462 pounds of carbon dioxide per passenger per hour."

€8,000 (Johnfas) / 415 = €19.28
€19.28 / 4 = €4.82
This suggests a price of approx. €4.82 per litre or fuel? Can this be correct?

The links I have found suggest it isn't correct:
http://www.pplmania.com/articles/avgas_price_check.htm
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_gallon_of_aviation_fuel_cost_the_airlines
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_pwwi/is_200804/ai_n25368443/pg_8
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrel
For the first quarter of 2008 I am getting US $119.85 per barrel. This is about 75c per litre. Oil prices have fallen hugely since then so we are probably looking at about half that these days.

(Oil barrel: 42 US gallons, 158.9873 litres,[5] or 34.9723 Imperial (UK) gallons.)
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:36 pm

There was also a report on RTE when Willie O'Dea went to Dell over in Texas that the cost of that flight was in excess of 8,000 per hour. The total operation for himself and Coughlan (hotels etc included) cost well over a quarter of a million.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:35 pm

Let them swim, I say.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:20 pm

It's all so disappointing.

The question we here have to ask ourselves is "are our views/opinions/attitudes a reasonable reflection of those in the real world".
After much research/study I have come to the conclusion that if the answer to the above question is "yes", we're fucked and there's no two ways about it.

Those who have the will should take to the boats now, while there's still time. This ship is going down.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:02 pm

tonys wrote:
It's all so disappointing.

The question we here have to ask ourselves is "are our views/opinions/attitudes a reasonable reflection of those in the real world".
After much research/study I have come to the conclusion that if the answer to the above question is "yes", we're fucked and there's no two ways about it.

Those who have the will should take to the boats now, while there's still time. This ship is going down.

This kind of information about the helicopters turns up in the Star every couple of days.

Don't you think people are entitled to know how much our public reps spend on what and have an opinion on the return got for it etc. This is how it works in the world of private industry - my boss will give me an allowance for staying in Cork, he might give me a credit card (American Express) and if I overspend on that he'll want to know on what, who, was it applicable to work, will it profit him and if not will he get it back.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:25 pm

Yes indeedy, the gravy train is well and truly wrecked. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:16 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
tonys wrote:
It's all so disappointing.

The question we here have to ask ourselves is "are our views/opinions/attitudes a reasonable reflection of those in the real world".
After much research/study I have come to the conclusion that if the answer to the above question is "yes", we're fucked and there's no two ways about it.

Those who have the will should take to the boats now, while there's still time. This ship is going down.

This kind of information about the helicopters turns up in the Star every couple of days.
I rest my case.

I have hope, I don't believe that such petty, narrow mindedness is reflective of the general mood, not the people I meet anyway. The people I meet don't want to discuss the cost of helicopters or the Government jet, they must leave that to J. Duffy & the Star. They know it's going to be tough and they're willing to accept that, all they want is the uncertainty to be over, a clear path of action ahead and with that they're anxious to take their new measure, cut their cloth accordingly and just get on with it at this stage.

Most people I talk to would prefer to see everyone on a 4 day week rather than 80% working full time & 20% not at all, they are concerned about things that matter, not about fostering an unhealthy atmosphere of nit picking & victimhood.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:18 pm

Absolutely, but let's also cut at least 20% off the day to day running expenses of the State, would you not agree, tonys?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:22 pm

Your making the case for graft and unaccountability very well tonys.

Most people I hear talking about 3 day weeks are far from happy or resigned about their situation.

Just who is going to cut whose clothes to fit who? A good few suits could be run up from the costs of a couple of those flights.

Have you done any canvassing recently ? Even Labour canvassers are being run off door steps. FF people are afraid to knock.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:25 pm

To be honest, some of the criticism of the government jet is way over the top. Having a plane is a vital (yes, vital) necessity on many occasions. The problem is that this government has turned its use, and the use of helicopters, into a perk of the job. It should never be that. They should only be used when they have to be used.

For example, many meetings ministers must attend are of vital national interest and relying on scheduled air flight is not an option for two reasons:

1. The timetable of flights may not suit.

2. They cannot risk a delay caused by an airline.

If there is an important meeting in Brussels that Ireland needs to be present at, we cannot afford to have Ireland missing for it on the basis of 'sorry guys, but Aer Lingus/Ryanair/BA or whoever cancelled the flight at the last minute and so the ministers could not get there.' Jobs, EU money, or a range of issues may be reliant on they being there. So a government using their own aircraft is crucial to ensure that they are there. Their own aircraft may develop technical problems, or weather may make its use impossible too, but the number of important meetings missed because the government jet couldn't get there are tiny. (There was one famous example, where Bertie Ahern missed an important meeting with the Secretary General of the UN because the plane developed technical difficulties and could not fly from Washington to New York, with at that stage no alternative possible.) But when ministers used ordinary aircraft, the number of missed meetings was quite high - flights were cancelled. Flights were delayed because some passenger was ill. Flights were diverted because some passenger got pissed and started a fight and so the plane was diverted mid-flight to the nearest airport. You could not say to the pilot 'seriously mate, you've gotta get me to Brussels. Don't have an emergency landing at Heathrow. I haven't got time. If I am not in Brussels Ireland will lose out on a billion euro deal in Brussels.' or 'I am going to a meeting that will decide whether Irish farmers get increased headage payments. I cannot afford to be diverted. If the plane is diverted some farmers will lose their farms over the result.'

In fact people who have been on the government jet say it is not all it is cut up to be. It can be cramped and if you don't like flying it it scare the shit out of you - the air corp don't so much sweep gentlely into the airport as fly above the height of commercial aircraft, and then effectively dive bomb down. It scares the bejaysus out of you the first time. People who do it a lot still find the landing terrifying.

The problem with the current government is that like so much else they use it as a perk of office, travelling to places when commercial aircraft are available, and there are no time pressures. There simply was no need for O'Dea and Coughlan to use it to travel to meet Dell. They could have done the journey on a commercial flight. (Indeed, considering how disastrous Coughlan's performance at the meeting was - oh my God was it bad! She caused high offence to the Americans! - it might have been better if they never went at all.) Similarly using helicopters except for major important journeys is a waste.

The bottom line is that the government jet is useful to the state, but because of its cost should only be used when needed. A classic example of the problems that arise when you don't have one was shown when Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Then Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald went, as was his responsibility, but in those days it was a nightmare. He flew from Ireland to London, but there was not a suitable flight to Delhi, so he flew from London to I think Rome, to get a connecting flight, after a long weight, a cancelled flight etc, etc. He arrived knackered. He was dreading the return flights home. Luckily Britain was also represented at the funeral, by the Princess Royal and Margaret Thatcher. Princess Anne offered him a lift home on the Queen's Flight. By missing the nightmare of the flights, connecting flights, waiting around in airports, etc, his travel time was cut by two-thirds. He arrived in London after just one journey and then could get a connecting flight home. Around that time it was finally realised that not having a government jet was a damned inconvenience, something Haughey then learned to his cost when an emergency meeting of the European Council was called. 14 European prime ministers and presidents assembled and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited, only to find that the Irish delegation was stuck in Heathrow because of a cancellation of their flight, and were practically begging other airlines to let them get on a flight to Brussels. As with the mess that used to be Government Buildings (where students used to be in the main part of the building and the taoiseach in a wing of it) governments got embarrassed into doing something about it. In that case FitzGerald realised that it was ridiculous for UCD to have its students in Merrion Street when the college was now in Belfield, and it was a nonsense to have the government crammed into a wing of a (rented) building sixty years after independence. So he authorised the long overdue building of the engineering building for the students in UCD and planned to take over the rest of the Merrion Street complex when they left. However the move didn't take place until Haughey was in power as UCD were slow getting the engineering building built, so people wrongly thought it was all Haughey's idea (hence the nickname for Government Buildings, the Chaz Mahal!).
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:36 pm

Nobody is denying that a Government jet is a vital asset. However, the fact remains that Dublin is well served on air routes to most places in the world and to most places in Europe there are regular flights. I am not suggesting that we get rid of the Government jet, merely that we limit its usage. We should also limit the use of State cars to drive dogs around as we should all unnecessary perks.

Of course tonys will say this is reactionary and each of these things is a petty issue. Perhaps some of those in isolation are petty issues. However, it is easy to cut nearly 20% out of a business cost simply by cutting back on unnecessary overheards. The trend has to start at the top and all of these overheads need to be cut, those obvious examples are just that, obvious examples. But when you add the abuse of private jets, ministerial cars, allowances and expenses together with unnecessary extravagences from too many dinners being paid for to too many reports being published in full colour and you will soon see a huge amount of money being saved.

Frankly, it has little to do with a private jet, just as a meal at Shanahans for 4 costing 1,200 has little to do with corporate waste. However, these are both merely indicative of a culture of high flying (no pun intended) that we cannot afford and most be pulled in. Overuse of the Government jet is just one such example. I haven't seen a comment here which suggested the abandonment of the Government jet, you have read that into the remarks.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:47 pm

johnfás wrote:
Nobody is denying that a Government jet is a vital asset. However, the fact remains that Dublin is well served on air routes to most places in the world and to most places in Europe there are regular flights. I am not suggesting that we get rid of the Government jet, merely that we limit its usage. We should also limit the use of State cars to drive dogs around as we should all unnecessary perks.

Of course tonys will say this is reactionary and each of these things is a petty issue. Perhaps some of those in isolation are petty issues. However, it is easy to cut nearly 20% out of a business cost simply by cutting back on unnecessary overheards. The trend has to start at the top and all of these overheads need to be cut, those obvious examples are just that, obvious examples. But when you add the abuse of private jets, ministerial cars, allowances and expenses together with unnecessary extravagences from too many dinners being paid for to too many reports being published in full colour and you will soon see a huge amount of money being saved.

Frankly, it has little to do with a private jet, just as a meal for 4 costing 1,200 has little to do with corporate waste. However, these are both merely indicative of a culture of high flying (no pun intended) that we cannot afford and most be pulled in.

You miss the point: whether Ireland is well served with regular flights is immaterial. If a meeting is urgent then a regular flight is too unreliable to rely on. And no, going earlier to give yourself plenty of time is not workable either. Ministers operate on very tight schedules. The issue is not whether there are alternatives, but suitable alternatives (ie, one should not use the government jet if one is not on a tight time-limited schedule. For example using the government jet to go somewhere on the night before a meeting where the meeting is not until late the following day gives one plenty of time to use commercial flight.

And no way should state travel (plane, helicopter, car, etc) be used to transport someone on private business (holiday, weekends etc) unless it is required for security.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:53 pm

Here's the problem Papal Knight, you could book a Minister on 10 different flights (to keep his options open) and you would still be cheaper than running the Government jet for every junket to London.

There are 44 flights per day from Dublin to London on 5 airlines serving the 4 main London airports (excluding Luton). You could book a Minister on 10 of these flights for 200 quid, or you could send him on the jet for about 4 grand.


Last edited by johnfás on Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:56 pm

johnfás wrote:
Here's the problem Papal Knight, you could book a Minister on 10 different flights (to keep his options open) and you would still be cheaper than running the Government jet for every junket to London.

There are 40 flights per day from Dublin to London on 4 airlines serving the 4 main London airports (excluding Luton). You could book a Minister on 10 of these flights for 200 quid, or you could send him on the jet for about 4 grand.
What if he didn't have the extra 12 Euro on him to pay for taking his briefcase on board?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:59 pm

tonys wrote:
johnfás wrote:
Here's the problem Papal Knight, you could book a Minister on 10 different flights (to keep his options open) and you would still be cheaper than running the Government jet for every junket to London.

There are 40 flights per day from Dublin to London on 4 airlines serving the 4 main London airports (excluding Luton). You could book a Minister on 10 of these flights for 200 quid, or you could send him on the jet for about 4 grand.
What if he didn't have the extra 12 Euro on him to pay for taking his briefcase on board?
What because he had just lost the 12 when he backed Paddytheplaster in Cheltenham for example ?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:10 am

I'm sure he could afford it himself out of the weekly €250 "walking around money" that we give ministers just to fund their day to day being. Funny, I always thought that was called a salary.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:12 am

Aside from the issues discussed on QandA, it is surely hecklesome that the programme itself is being axed. When they have money for such odious programmes All Ireland Talent Show or irritating like the Late Late, it's depressing to think that they're going to cut a programme of real value like QandA.

Is this what we pay our license fee for?
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:15 am

It is depressing indeed. It is also depressing that the most informative programmes on television (both here and in the UK) are on so late at night that barely anyone watches them. In alot of ways Q&A has gone downhill in recent times, it has become simply an excuse for party hacks to sit on the back row and shout and roar as if they are still in class at the local school. That said, the format of the show is a valuable one and the idea of axing virtually the only chance we have to see our politicians debate the issues of the week is a disappointing one. Hopefully it will be replaced by something equally informative, but I have my doubts.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:18 am

Seconded.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:20 am

I agree johnfás. While QandA isn't the best, it still deserves to be shown as it is a valuable and, indeed, essential element of RTÉ's remit as a public-service broadcaster.

If they choose to axe this forum in which we do actually see our politicians and leaders of civil society discuss the issues of the day and continue with the utter rubbish elsewhere, then their exhortations for us to pay our TV licenses will run very hollow indeed.

RTÉ should be made justify both the license fee and its existence every year to ensure a better quality of programming is produced.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:22 am

They should have done what I wanted them to do years ago.... sell off Montrose for a bloody fortune and build a swanky tower block housing RTE in the centre of the city. Would make a great backdrop for programmes such as the news, it would completely modernise the studio setup (alot of which is ageing), it would be a better location for guests to get into studio and you could have invested the profit, which would have been phenomenal, into a trust in order to safeguard and bankroll quality public service broadcasting.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:32 am

johnfás wrote:
They should have done what I wanted them to do years ago.... sell off Montrose for a bloody fortune and build a swanky tower block housing RTE in the centre of the city. Would make a great backdrop for programmes such as the news, it would completely modernise the studio setup (alot of which is ageing), it would be a better location for guests to get into studio and you could have invested the profit, which would have been phenomenal, into a trust in order to safeguard and bankroll quality public service broadcasting.

Absolutely, johnfás. They should have sold it in 2005-06 when they would have made hundreds of millions on the site. As I said, they should have sold it to UCD so they could re-develop it into a new part of campus to add to their already impressive ascent up the world university rankings. They might indeed be in the top 100 by now just like another certain Dublin institution. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:36 am

Well no... they should have sold it to a cash rich developer (so he didn't need a loan which we now guarantee) who would have struggled to get planning permission for the site and would still be holding it now without a chance of developing it. Then UCD could buy it now for a fraction of what RTE sold it for Very Happy.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions and Answers - Heckle Here   Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:37 am

QnA is getting axed .... !??


nooooooooooooooooo
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