Yes, Minister: Callely’s €20k office and stationery redesign

SOMETIMES it is the little things in politics that count. Ivor Callely ordered a redesign of stationery when he was a junior minister at the Department of Health so that the symbols and logos on the paper had a “rich appearance or feel”.

The stationery redesign was just one of a number of requests by Mr Callely, which also included a refurbishment of his offices costing well over €20,000 of taxpayers’ money.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show Mr Callely requested the suite of offices for him and his officials to be painted “venetian yellow” and carpeted in blue. He asked that all the rooms be fitted with wooden venetian blinds, and that his own office be sound-proofed. Invoices for this work show the final cost comfortably exceeded €20,000, with the blinds costing €9,425 alone, while the supply and fitting of Munster Supreme Velvet Carpet cost €3,430 and furniture was reupholstered and polished at a cost of €3,387. The painting, meanwhile, cost €5,809.

The documentation shows the attention paid by Mr Callely to small detail. For example, he requested castors costing €75.50 for one chair. A note from an official in his office to a service provider in the Department of Health stated: “In relation to the six chairs and matching meeting table that were recently refurbished for the Minister of State’s Office, Minister Callely has asked me to request that castors be fitted to one of the chairs that he will use for hosting meetings.”

Similarly, Mr Callely asked for two filing cabinets to be “wood-finished to match the furniture in his personal assistant’s room”.

He also asked that the plastic keyboard shelf of a computer trolley provided for his use “be replaced with a wooden shelf”.

But it was arguably in relation to the redesign of his departmental stationery that Mr Callely showed the greatest attention to detail.

He requested that both his letterheads and compliment slips, which carried the harp symbolising the state and the department’s logo, be redesigned.

In a memo, his office requested that the “colour in the harp and in the ‘ball’ on the department’s logo should be deepened”.

A handwritten note by an official to a colleague in the department explained why.

“The minister would like the harp and logo to be ‘deepened’ to give a rich appearance or feel.”

Mr Callely did not respond to a request for comment at the weekend. He is due to appear at a Seanad committee investigating his travel expenses today.


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