Trevor Lunn MLA said: “I hope that the First and Deputy First Ministers can justify this spending. Everyone else has been asked to tighten their belts during these tough economic times yet OFMDFM are spending this amount on hospitality.
“These figures pose questions as regards whether such spending is totally necessary and I am sure the public will want answers on this issue. There have been demands for 3% cuts across all departments, yet OFMDFM’s hospitality bill seems to have increased significantly.
“While I understand that events and subsequent hospitality play an important role in promoting Northern Ireland, public funds are at a premium and I want to see value for money. Surely in the context of Northern Ireland facing serious cuts to frontline healthcare all spending must be constantly monitored.”