'I had nothing to do with it,' says former minister Martin Cullen
THE former minister responsible for buying the €54m e-voting machines -- which have now been sold for scrap -- claimed yesterday that the debacle had nothing to do with him.
Martin Cullen, who now lives in the US, refused to comment and said he didn't want to "get into" a discussion.
Speaking to the Irish Independent at an art gallery that he co-owns in Naples, Florida, Mr Cullen said: "I had nothing to do with that. I don't want to get into that."
His refusal means that none of the three main players involved in buying the machines -- which have now been sold for scrap for just €70,000 -- will explain why they were purchased but never used.
First proposed by Noel Dempsey in 1999, the machines were purchased by Martin Cullen in 2002. The decision was strongly supported by the then taoiseach Bertie Ahern.
Mr Dempsey has refused to comment, saying he is now a "private citizen" and directing questions to his successor at the Department of the Environment, Mr Cullen. Both Mr Cullen and Mr Ahern also refused to answer questions.
Mr Cullen owns a gallery at Broad Avenue in Naples and lives in an apartment in the town, which he bought in March 2009 for $455,100, according to Collier County property appraiser records.
Meanwhile, Kurt Kyck, whose company, KMK Metals Recycling Ltd, won the contract to dispose of the 7,500 machines, said he planned to sell 100 of the machines for €100 each, with the proceeds going to the Barretstown Camp in Co Kildare, which works with sick children.
But the department said the machines had to be recycled. It added: "The department would be concerned about the machines turning up in other places. The contract is quite specific about that."