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€400,000 for officials who stored e-voting machines

FOUR election officials used their own premises to store the controversial electronic voting machines, getting more than €400,000 from the State.

Returning officers were told to find suitable facilities to store the equipment after the then government mothballed the €55m project in 2004 because of security concerns.

The Government decided earlier this week to sell or scrap the e-voting machines before the summer.

Last night, it emerged that two officials in Dublin and a further two in Cork bought premises to store the machines and charged the State rent.

A close relation of a fifth returning officer in Cavan/Monaghan was also given a lucrative 25-year contract to store the machines -- even though they only have a 20-year lifespan. The cost was part of a total storage bill of €3.4m incurred by the State for the 7,500 machines.

The Irish Independent has learned that four returning officers stored the equipment in their own properties and were paid a total of €414,084 between 2004 and 2007, before the machines were moved to the Gormanston Army camp in Meath. The total cost of storing the equipment between 2004 and 2010 was €3.4m.

Dublin City returning officer Brendan Walsh was paid €124,528 to store 777 of the machines between 2004 and 2007.


Irish Independent