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"The evil that men do lives after them-the good-is oft interred with their bones"

THE STATE funeral for the late Charles Haughey cost taxpayers more than half a million euro.

The cost of the garda operation was €200,000, adding significantly to the existing estimated cost of €330,000.

Adding in Government staff costs - including the resources of the Government Information Service for a week - would swell the cost of the former taoiseach's funeral on June 16 2006, even further.

Then there was the €34,000 cost of the post-funeral meal at the Berkeley Court hotel for the Haughey family, prominent mourners, relatives, and dignitaries, all of it paid for by the State. The Department of Defence has yet to provide a figure for its staff costs, despite the release of the garda costs of €197,000. An indicative figure of €5,000 for defence personnel does not include the staff costs of the many army, navy and air corps involved.

The Garda Press Office reports that the cost for its members was €196,633. A spokesman said the total "may well increase, but only marginally" to top €200,000.

The figure represents salary costs for those rostered to work normally, overtime costs for those specially deployed, travelling claims for those drafted in from outside divisions, and subsistence allowance claims.

Fingal Co Council spent money sandblasting inside and outside St Fintan's cemetery, removing graffiti and providing portable toilets. Staff worked outside normal hours to facilitate the erection of scaffolding and platforms within the graveyard. There were seating arrangements, path repairs, and "weeding and general dressing" of the graveyard, as well as special cleansing of city streets on the route of the funeral cortege. The total estimated cost incurred was €8,610.

The bulk of the costs were incurred by the Office of Public Works, which spent €253,000 on the funeral. This included funeral expenses, car and bus hire, florists, traffic management, and communications expenses.

The latter covered the hire and erection of special large screens at the church to relay the funeral ceremony to expected large crowds that did not materialise, as well as graveyard, lighting and sound systems.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said costs were in line with those for State funerals generally.

Mr Ahern told Labour finance spokeswoman Joan Burton that the costs attributable to the Office of Public Works alone at that stage were estimated to be in the order of €253,000.