€22k bill ... for IDA bosses' trendy iPads

Colm Kelpie

Taxpayers may face a bill running into tens of thousands of euro under plans to buy state-of-the-art iPads for IDA chiefs.

Officials are looking at buying two of the Apple hand-held computers initially, and possibly 26 more.

The sleek device -- slightly smaller than an A4 page and just 9mm thick -- allows users to access the internet, upload and take photos, read books, and play music and games.


Officials are looking at the costs of buying the iPad 2 model which has 64GB of memory and is wi-fi enabled, and the price of adding a 3G mobile connection, which would allow users access the internet anywhere.

Apple is charging ¤679 for wi-fi only, and ¤799 with 3G included, meaning taxpayers could be hit with a bill of up to ¤22,372. The two bought initially would be used for "testing purposes".

The plan is for board members and other committee members to use the computers to access official documentation.

An IDA spokesman said the objective was to eliminate paper from all decision-making bodies.

"What we're really trying to do is follow best practice, cut out costs, cut out administration and have an environmental benefit," the spokesman said.

He said the devices would be for IDA use only.

The IDA said it has carried out a preliminary investigation showing that there are cost savings associated with a streamlined process, but could not say what those savings are expected to be.

"We're going to the market for investigative purposes," the spokesman added.

"Our preliminary findings is that there is a cost saving associated with streamlining our process and eliminating entirely paper."

He said the IDA would only commit to the project if the savings could be proven.


The iPad 2 is the latest version of the Apple hand-held device. Prices at the online Apple store start at ¤479 for the model with 16GB and wi-fi, to ¤799 for 64GB with wi-fi and 3G.

IDA board members include chairman Liam O'Mahony, who also serves as chair of Smurfit Kappa, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chair of the American Ireland Fund and IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary.