Just 15 of 38 ex-TDs or senators forked out to keep iPads

Cost to taxpayer is around €13,000
Just 15 of 38 ex-TDs or senators forked out to keep iPads

Thousands of euros worth of laptops, scanners and other IT equipment has not been returned by ex-TDs and senators. Stock Picture.

Former TDs and senators who retired or lost their seats at the last election have failed to return laptops, scanners, and other IT equipment that cost the taxpayer around €13,000, according to the Houses of the Oireachtas.

A total of 23 ex-members also retained Oireachtas-owned iPads, indicating they intend to purchase the devices but have failed to make any payment to-date, despite being sent invoices as long ago as last March.

The iPads have a combined cost value of around €16,000, but can be bought by former TDs and senators for as little as €50 each. Some 38 ex-members kept their tablets on this basis, but only 15 actually paid for them.

Due to Covid, I haven’t been into Leinster House to thoroughly search for the iPad - ex-Senator Catherine Noone

Anthony Lawlor, a former Fine Gael TD, and senator, failed to return an iPad worth €684 after he lost his Dáil seat in 2016. He was issued with a second iPad when he was elected to the Seanad in 2018 but also failed to return this since ceasing to be a member.

He said, last week, he intended to purchase the second tablet. However, records released by the Houses of the Oireachtas show that he has yet to pay for either device.

 ‘Swing-gate’ TD Maria Bailey was invoiced for her device four months ago.
‘Swing-gate’ TD Maria Bailey was invoiced for her device four months ago.

Other former members who have indicated that they would buy their iPads but have yet to make any payment include ‘swing-gate’ TD Maria Bailey, who was invoiced for her device four months ago.

Former ministers James Reilly, Finian McGrath, and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran were also issued with invoices for tablets between March and July but have yet to make any payments.

Ex-senator Catherine Noone did not indicate that she wishes to buy her iPad, but said she has been unable to locate the Oireachtas-issued device since losing her seat in April.

“Due to Covid, I haven’t been into Leinster House to thoroughly search for the iPad. It is not in my possession and I never, in fact, took it out of Leinster House and only used it there,” she explained.

An inventory of other IT equipment released by the Houses of the Oireachtas under freedom of information laws shows 18 former TDs and senators have failed to return laptops, printers, scanners, and other office hardware.

However, some ex-members denied being in possession of the devices.

They included former finance minister Michael Noonan, who is recorded as having failed to return a Dell Latitude E5540 laptop valued at around €790 in 2016. He said that he has received no request to return any equipment and does not have a computer of that type.

Former minister of state Andrew Doyle, who still has a scanner and fax machine with a cost value of around €500 according to the records, said all IT equipment had been returned.

A spokeswoman for the Houses of the Oireachtas said some former members said they had already returned the missing equipment following media queries.

“We have agreed to further check this,” she said.

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