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.
FULL REPORT: PAGE 20