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An E-voting flop for us, a €317,000 system for them

E-VOTING might not have worked for the ordinary voter but the Seanad is well equipped.

Figures obtained by the Herald show that an electronic voting system installed in the Seanad Chamber in summer 2003 cost €317,343.

The investment came months before the Government announced that it was rolling out a computerised voting system for all elections.

That has never happened, despite a spend of €60m, but our senators are continuing to operate their own system.

Fine Gael want to scrap the upper house of Parliament but, in the same month that Brian Cowen became Taoiseach, some €25,000 was splashed on the installation of LED lighting in the Seanad.

Works were also carried out across in the Dail Chamber where €141,000 was spent on wood treatment that officials decided was necessary because of "wear and tear".

A female toilet next to the chamber was also upgraded at a cost of €40,000. Another toilet elsewhere in the building was refurbished around the same time, but the bill for that work reached €58,712.

The Oireachtas has also invested significantly in digital technology. Despite the fact that Ireland has one of the worst broadband records in Europe, TDs are assured of some of the best facilities in the city.

Hundreds of thousands of euro have been splashed on digital recording facilities for the Dail and Seanad as well as TV links. Some €142,614 was spent refurbishing the Members' Reading Room between 2006 and 2007.

The refit saw money paid out to four Dublin companies for a selection of work including construction, timberwork and lighting. Previous to that, two lifts in the building had to be repaired at a cost of €52,691 and €42,374 respectively.

Last September, €8,439 was spent on the conservation of window lintels,

The OPW then stumped up a further €102,161 to cover stone works on the facade of the building.