Monday 11 December 2017

Outgoing TDs fail to return laptops and iPads that cost the taxpayer €20,000

One Saturday afternoon, several hours after our open view had finished, there was a ring on the bell and on the doorstep stood a well-dressed and well-spoken middle-aged man, iPad in hand. Thinkstock Images
One Saturday afternoon, several hours after our open view had finished, there was a ring on the bell and on the doorstep stood a well-dressed and well-spoken middle-aged man, iPad in hand. Thinkstock Images

Meadhbh McGrath

Twenty TDs who retired or lost their seats in the general election have not returned technological hardware, including laptops and iPads, that cost the taxpayer close to €20,000.

Former Dáil deputies were required to return the devices provided to them by the Houses of the Oireachtas within six weeks of polling day on February 26.

Three months have passed since that date, and there are still 29 outstanding items, which would cost €19,845 to return.

Despite repeated attempts by the Oireachtas ICT Unit to collect the items, the ex-TDS from four political parties, including three former junior ministers, have not returned the equipment.

Documents released reveal that eight former TDs failed to return the iPads provided to them by the Houses of the Oireachtas, which cost the taxpayer between €687 and €730 each.

A further outgoing ex-TDs retained their Oireachtas laptops, which cost €748.48 each.

Ten of them have held onto firewall appliances which are used for internet security, and cost between €814.77 and €940.05 each.

A selection of scanners, a fax machine and a digital dictation device were among the other technological hardware that has not been returned.

Members of the Oireachats who wished to retain the devices were offered an option to purchase them at a reduced cost, which seven outgoing TDs availed of, buying iPads for prices ranging from €50 to €335.

Two other deputes were issued invoices for the purchase of iPads they had retained, but no payment has been made and the equipment has not been returned, according to the records.

The 20 outgoing TDs have until June 7 to return the devices.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Service said in a statement that it was continuing to make arrangements for the return of the equipment to the ICT unit.

“Members may retain the iPads but at the depreciated value. Members who wish to keep iPads supplied by the Oireachtas will need to pay for them,” the spokesperson said.

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