E-voting storage costs four times higher in Waterford

Fionnán Sheahan, Political Correspondent

While Waterford's Minister Martin Cullen is linked with the e-voting expenditure of 52 million, he is not the county's only notable association with the stalled venture.

The average cost of storing the 7,504 e-voting machines across the country is 62.50 each but in Waterford each machine costs an average of E260 to store for a year the most expensive in the country.

Storage of the machines nationwide is costing E470,000, with another E137,000 on insurance and E51,000 on miscellaneous costs, adding up to a total of E658,000 per annum.

Waterford City Council are paying Johnstown Properties Ltd almost 51,000 per annum to store the 195 e-voting machines needed in the constituency.

The company, based in Johnstown Business Park, was registered in April 2004 and is owned by Michael and Monica Cahillane and John and Bernadette Rohan, all from the Dunmore Road in Waterford.

After Waterford, Wicklow is paying E155 per machine per year for storage, followed by Limerick at E152 and Laois-Offaly at E110. The remaining counties across the country are all paying less than E100 per machine for storage for a yesterday.

Yesterday, members of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee questioned officials from the Departments of Finance and Environment about the wide variations in cost across the country.

Last night, officials in the Waterford Registrar's Office said auctioneers and architects were hired last year to locate and inspect appropriate facilities for the machines. Only one of the five premises identified was suitable so it was secured as it matched the storage specifications set down by Nedap, the makers of the e-voting machines, the spokesman said.

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