The benefits of ministerial travel..

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has defended the global travels of Irish government ministers for St Patrick’s Day celebrations as RTÉ News revealed the cost of last year’s trips. Meanwhile, here, the Northern Ireland Department of Culture Arts and Leisure have announced that NI Culture minister, Edwin Poots – the Executive’s only young-Earther? – is currently on a visit to Tennessee and Texas, “build[ing] more meaningful links with Ulster-Scots communities.” He will also be attending the South by South West Music Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, where he might bump into On the Record’s Jim Carroll.. He will definitely bump into others..

He is also meeting up with Belfast’s Lord Mayor, Jim Rodgers and representatives of Belfast City Council who are in Nashville at the same time promoting social and economic links between Northern Ireland through the Sister City initiative.

Oh, and there will be only one Irish government minister at home on St Patrick’s Day. Who is it? Answer below the fold.It’s that man again..