Cabinet agrees to dispose of €55m e-voting system


THE GOVERNMENT is set to rid itself of controversial electronic voting equipment, including 7,500 e-voting machines, following a decision at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan sought and received approval for a tendering process to dispose of the items, numbering 29,867 in all, which were part of the project which cost almost €55 million.

A request for tenders is to be published before the end of this month “seeking proposals for either the purchase of the equipment or for its disposal through a process of recovery as waste, consistent with environmental and other obligations”.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan suggested that Irish pubs around the world could offer new homes for the machines.

“Fianna Fáil thought it wouldn’t be fashionable to be, as Bertie [Ahern] said, ‘using the peann luaidhe [lead pencil]’ any more and you needed to have a high-tech machine,” he said.

“But when the high-tech machine was checked out it didn’t do the job that it was supposed to do, so the system was flawed. They are valueless now.

“There may be a market for them in Irish-themed pubs across the world,” Mr Noonan said.

Commenting after the Cabinet meeting, Mr Hogan said he wanted to “finally draw a line” under the electronic voting project and also see that the equipment was disposed of properly.

Pointing out that €54.8 million had been wasted on the project to date, he said every effort must be made now to sell the equipment and get as much of these costs back as possible in the circumstances. “It is possible that no reasonable or acceptable offer for sale will be received. That is why the request for tenders will also allow proposals for the recovery of the equipment,” Mr Hogan said.

Tenders for single and/or multiple lots are being invited.