Dáil clerk launches investigation into bizarre €1 million spent on a single printer
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Dáil clerk launches investigation into bizarre €1 million spent on a single printer

THE CLERK of the Dáil has opened an investigation into a printer which was ordered for the Houses of the Oireachtas.

The controversial printer allegedly cost €808,000, and then spent months in storage - back in May last year - once they realised it was too big to fit inside Leinster House.

The Irish Times reported that a further €236,000 was spent on structural work in order for the printer to be brought and fitted inside.

While the restructuring took place, the printer went into storage at Ballymount Industrial Estate where it remained at a cost of €2,000 per month before being installed in September.

On Tuesday morning, it was confirmed that Dáil clerk Peter Finnegan he had opened an investigation into the costs after members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had voiced their concerns on the matter.

"I learned about it in the Irish Times but interestingly we had Mr Finnegan before the Public Accounts Committee in July of this year," said Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme

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"He is the accounting officer for the Houses of the Oireachtas and for the spend in the Houses," he said.

"He talked about the printer at that meeting and he said the cost was €1.3 million, no more than that. There was no details about why it was costing more. There was no details that the printer itself only costed €800,000.

"What he said was the printing unit was costing €1.3 million and what we now find out is substantial money had to be paid to refurbish part of the building to ensure the printer would fit because the measurements were wrong. It’s extraordinary that that happened.

"It’s also extraordinary that the Public Accounts Committee at that meeting was not told by a very experienced and a very senior civil servant who, in my view, should have known better.

"Big printers cost money, so that wasn’t in itself a problem. The problem here is that mistakes were made in relation to the original contract. The printer was too big for the building. That was only noticed late on and I think it’s unfortunate and regrettable that the accounting officer had known about this."