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Officials were told 'no risks' with €1.8m Dail printer

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The huge €1.8m Dail printer

The huge €1.8m Dail printer

The huge €1.8m Dail printer

Officials told Dail management there were "no financial risks" as they made the case for the purchase of a printer that ended up being too big to fit in the room where it was to be located.

The blunder over the size of the printer led to €429,000 in extra costs that saw the project spiral to €1.8m.

The Herald can reveal the printer is still not in use five months after it was installed as staff are still being trained how to use it. Documents released by the Oireachtas show the arguments made for buying a printer and associated equipment when the idea was first mooted in 2017.

Officials cited the age of the old printers and overhaul costs of €170,000 as reasons to buy the new machine.

Proposal

Initial discussions about replacing the old printers began between print manager Richie Roe and the Oireachtas head of communications, Derek Dignam, in September 2017.

Mr Dignam submitted a Business Case Proposal Form to management that month.

The document said "there are no financial risks". The only risk identified was that the existing printing presses were "reaching end of life and are becoming more costly to support".

Mr Dignam asked the management committee to issue a request for tender to upgrade the equipment on October 17, 2017. The estimated cost of five machines including the main printer and equipment was €1.5m.

Oireachtas management were warned of the prospect of "adverse publicity" for continuing to invest in the printing service for politicians.

The print facility is used to produce Oireachtas documentation, as well as newsletters and calendars for TDs to distribute to constituents.

However, it emerged later that the new printer was too big for the print facility and €314,453 in building work had to be done so that it would fit.

Storage costs for the printer after it was bought but could not be installed came to €14,760.

There was the €100,000 in outsourcing costs for printing.

Oireachtas secretary general Peter Finnegan said in December there are "important lessons to be learned from this project".


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