Factiva (R) Dow Jones & Reuters


In the Dáil

Michael O'Regan

30 November 2005


Call to 'cut our losses' and sell e-voting machines.


Labour's environment spokesman Eamon Gilmore suggested that the Government should sell the electronic voting machines which are now in storage.


Mr Gilmore said that the Government had confirmed that the machines would not be used at the next general election.


"Will the Minister find some place, such as Zimbabwe or Florida, which may need the assistance these machines could provide? The machines could be sold as a job lot, and we could at least cut our losses.


"We would not have to pay the EUR750,000 cost of storing the machines every year. It is time to cut our losses on the botched electronic voting system."


Minister for the Environment Dick Roche said that would not be a sensible suggestion.


"A charge would have to be paid if I sold them on. I am looking at the storage issue, and I hope to resolve it as I am looking to identify a storage location with my colleagues.


"It does not serve a purpose to have them in expensive storage on a decentralised basis. The machines will not be used in the 2007 elections but I would not hold my breath after that time."


Pádraic McCormack (Fine Gael, Galway West) asked why it was costing more to store the machines in Waterford than anywhere else. Mr Roche said that the cost was in the terms of the contract, which was drawn up with the returning officer in Waterford.


Referring to the storage of the "damned machines", Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party, Dún Laoghaire) said that last March the Minister had given an assurance that he was working with the Department of Defence to find a centralised storage area.


Mr Roche said progress had been made on the issue, but "one has to ensure that conditions are correct for the machines".


(c) 2005, The Irish Times.



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