Shredding of e-voting machines ‘very profitable’ for recycling firm
KMK Metals records earnings of more than €1 million for last year
KMK Metals Recycling Ltd won the tender for scrapping the e-voting machines in June last year, signing a contract with the Department of the Environment to dismantle and recycle the State’s 7,600 e-voting machines after agreeing to pay the State €70,267.
At least somebody has profited from the State’s €55 million waste of public money on the e-voting machine project.
KMK Metals managing director Kurk Kyck confirmed yesterday that the company’s work on shredding the State’s 7,600 e-voting machines produced a profit for the firm, contributing to earnings of more than €1 million for the company last year.
Mr Kyck said: “The e-voting machine work was very much profitable for us, but I would prefer not to say how much.”
In June of last year KMK Metals Recycling Ltd won the tender for the machines when it signed a contract with the Department of the Environment to dismantle and recycle the State’s 7,600 e-voting machines after agreeing to pay the State €70,267.
In the tendering for the works, four of the six unsuccessful tenders demanded money from the State to dispose of the machines, with one unidentified firm demanding €351,648 in fees to take the machines, while a second sought €181,701.
KMK – which employs 75 people – employed seven staff on the project to disassemble the machines.
The firm had a market for the shredded metal and plastic from the machines and Mr Kyck confirmed yesterday that no e-voting machines remain from the process. He said: “They have all been shredded.”
However, Mr Kyck said the firm found a use for the storage trolleys used with the e-voting machines: modified trolleys are now located throughout hardware and electrical stores in Ireland for the collection of waste electrical products.
Mr Kyck said that the e-voting machine work formed only a small part of the company’s €12 million revenue in 2012.
“The e-voting machine work was very good for the company’s profile as the Government scrutinised every aspect of our work before awarding the contract and found us to be compliant in every way.”
Accounts for 2012 just filed by KMK Metals Recycling Ltd show that the firm recorded a pretax loss of €104,300 last year following a pretax profit of €327,021 but Mr Kyck said that explained by very large non-cash depreciation costs of €1.1 million last year.
“I am very happy with how the firm performed last year,” he said;.
The e-voting machines were piloted in a number of constituencies during the 2002 general election and later the same year in seven constituencies during the Nice referendum.
Plans to roll out the machines on a national basis in the 2004 local and European elections were abandoned by the then minister for the environment Martin Cullen after a report from an independent commission raised issues about their reliability.
Amid mounting concerns over their reliability and storage costs (which in the years 2004 to 2008 were €658,000, €696,000, €706,000, €489,000 and €204,000 respectively) the idea of e-voting was finally scrapped in 2009.
Announcing the tender in June 2012, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan said he was “glad to bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer”.
“From the outset, this project was ill-conceived and poorly delivered by my political predecessors and as a result it has cost the taxpayer €55 million. While this is a scandalous waste of public money, I am happy to say that we will not incur any further costs in the disposal of the machines,” he said.