Senator Averil Power used Oireachtas facilities to print 73,000 calendars
INDEPENDENT senator Averil Power used Oireachtas facilities to print 73,000 calendars, it has emerged.
The figure is more than double the quantity of calendars ordered by any other politician ahead of the Christmas season.
All TDs and senators have the option of getting individualised Christmas cards, calendars and leaflets printed in-house at the taxpayers’ expense.
Documents released to the Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act show that Ms Power was among 22 Oireachtas members who placed an order in recent weeks.
The former Fianna Fáil senator got 73,000 A4 calendars which will be distributed in her constituency of Dublin Bay North.
The next largest orders came from Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell who got 30,000 similar calendars, as did Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Niall Collins.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan got 17,500 calendars.
Speaking to RTÉ’s New at One earlier today, Ms Power defended printing twice as many calendars as her Oireachtas colleagues on the grounds that her constituency is one of the biggest in the country.
“What I printed were one sided A4 calendars with useful numbers for local services.
“I have printed such a calendar every year [because] people tell me they find them very useful and keep them for the whole year.
“The reason there are so many is that there is twice as many houses in Dublin Bay North as there are in Limerick.
"It’s one of the biggest constituencies in the country... that’s the very simple reason there are so many."
Asked if the calendar was in support of her future Dáil bid at the next General Election, senator Power was adamant this was not the case.
“This has nothing to do with the election… the calendar says nothing about it and doesn’t ask people to vote for me.
"It just has local information about services which people might have to use over Christmas such as D Doc for those in need of medical care while their GP is away.
"I think there is a world of difference between sending out a calendar with useful information about local services and contact details for seeking my help and a Christmas card that has no useful information on it."
Ms Power said she had been unable to reach the Oireachtas printers to get the total cost of her 73,000 calendars but said that a commercial printer had quoted her a figure of 3.5 cent per unit.
"This commercial printer quoted me €2,700... but I would expect the Oireachtas printers to cost a lot less than this," she added.
Other ministers to avail of the service are Minister for Children James Reilly, Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring and Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Joe McHugh.
It comes after Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton complained on twitter that she couldn’t get leaflets printed this week because of the number of Christmas cards being ordered by TDs and senators.
Asked about this, Ms Power said she had had her calenders printed in November and had already sent them out.