Averil Power insists printing 73,000 calendars through the Oireachtas had ‘nothing to do with election’

Independent senator Averil Power has insisted her decision to print 73,000 calendars through the Oireachtas and send them to voters has “nothing to do with the election”, after being heavily criticised for spending taxpayers’ money on the move.

Averil Power insists printing 73,000 calendars  through the Oireachtas had ‘nothing to do with election’

The ex-Fianna Fáil member made the claim after the scale of the printing was revealed yesterday.

Freedom of Information Act files show Ms Power used the Oireachtas in-house printing service to produce 73,000 calendars (half the number of eligible voters in the Dáil constituency Ms Power is contesting next year) costing €2,700 in total.

Among other TDs and senators who used the in-house service for calendars and Christmas cards are Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan (17,500 calendars), Children’s Minister Dr James Reilly (500 cards), Sports Minister Michael Ring (1,000 calendars and 3,000 cards) and Gaeltacht Minister Joe McHugh (1,600 cards). Among the other 17 Oireachtas members are:

  • Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell: 30,000 calenders
  • Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins: 30,000 calenders
  • Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae: 10,000 A4 size calenders, 500 A3 calenders and 1,200 cards
  • Labour TD Emmet Stagg : 6,000 cards

The print bills have been heavily criticised as a waste of taxpayers’ money on items made with the sole intention of promoting candidates.

Ms Power’s calendar features a large photograph of the Dublin Bay North candidate with her contact details. But she said she simply wanted to provide information to her community.

“These are nothing to do with the election. It doesn’t ask people to vote for me. It’s just useful local information,” she insisted.

On Tuesday, Renua leader Lucinda Creighton claimed one unnamed Oireachtas member had sent in an order for 85,000 cards, a claim disputed by the Oireachtas yesterday.

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