SF TD says printer cartridges worth €50k he took from Dail were for constituency work
Published 28/02/2012 | 08:58
SINN FEIN TD Aengus O Snodaigh today admitted taking computer print cartridges to the value of €50,000 over two years, but said that he had done nothing wrong.
The Dublin South Central representative said that the cartridges, from the Dail stationery stores, had been used in his constituency office for constituency material.
The Irish Daily Mail reports today that Mr O Snodaigh took three toner packs – valued at an average of €130 – each day the Dail sat in 2007. The total value was €25,969.
In 2008 he took 219 print cartridges valued at €24,701 bringing the two year total value to €50,671.
It was enough to print 1,760 letters a day or a total of 3.25m single page letters – more than 337 letters to each of the 4,825 people who gave him their first preference votes in the 2007 General Election, the newspaper says.
Speaking on Morning Ireland Mr O Snodaigh denied that he was printing election material, which is against the rules. He said the ink was for material for his constituents who received regular correspondence from his office.
Up to 2009 print toner kits were available in unlimited quantities and free of charge to TDs. The rules changed at the end of that year and were further modified in 2010.
TDs are now limited to cartridges up to the value of €2,000 per year and Senators are limited to €1,300. They must reimburse the State for any usage above these limits.
Mr O Snodaigh acknowledged that he has an outstanding bill for €3,700 for printer cartridge usage since 2009 but said that he had not got around to paying it.
“It’s due, it will be paid,” he said.
Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin today called for an investigation into the cartridge usage by Mr O Snodaigh. Calling it “an extraordinary amount” he said that the Oireachtas Commission should look into it.
Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald conceded that the ink cartridge bill was “excessive” but pointed out that Mr O Snodaigh had not broken any rules and the system was at fault.
She said he would not have run up that bill if he had been advised by the Oireachtas authorities.