Oireachtas printing facility costs €1m annually
The publicly funded Oireachtas printing facility, which prints materials for TDs, senators and Oireachtas staff, costs over €1 million to run annually.
Nineteen Oireachtas members ran up individual printing costs of more than €5,000 between January 2011 and the end of October 2012, with one TD accruing over €10,000 in printing costs in this period.
The highest printing costs were run up by Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan, who spent €10,292 on material through the Oireachtas printing office in the 22-month period. One of the most expensive jobs carried out for the Dublin North East TD, costing €1,688, was for newsletters titled The Flanagan File – a Local Newsletter for Dublin Bay North.
It was distributed after a recommendation by the Constituency Commission that the two three-seater constituencies of Dublin North East and Dublin North Central be merged into one five-seater constituency.
Mr Flanagan said yesterday: “I am an extremely hardworking Dáil deputy, I’m in a new constituency with a population of 147,000 people, probably the largest in the country, and I’m trying to keep my constituents up to date with local and national news.”
Cork South Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer had the second-highest costs, which ran to €8,905. This included newsletters, business cards and Christmas cards printed in 2011.
Mr Buttimer, who was elected to the Dáil last March having previously served in the Seanad, said that a lot of these were one-off costs arising from his move from one House of the Oireachtas to the other.
“It is important as part of our duties that we inform and keep in touch with constituents,” he said, adding he was “very conscious” of costs. He said his printing costs had reduced hugely between 2011 and 2012.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald came third on the list, having spent €8,359 on printing material between the beginning of 2011 and October this year. Most of this, €7,689, was in her position as Minister, with the remainder dating to her time as a senator prior to the 2011 general election.
Other Ministers whose printing bills exceeded €5,000 included Leo Varadkar, at €7,245, and Lucinda Creighton, at €7,113.
Labour TD Aodhán O’Riordáin’s printing bill ran to €7,780 and included postcards advertising the times and dates of his clinics; Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell spent €7,140 on items including clinic posters, newsletters and Christmas cards; party colleague Simon Harris spent €6,610, including Christmas cards and sympathy cards; while Derek Keating spent €6,398 on items including bookmarkers and newsletters.
Although the time period covered by the information from the Oireachtas printing facility only runs until the end of October, 15 TDs and Senators had already commissioned almost 20,000 Christmas cards between them at a cost of €1,292.
These include Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton, who ordered cards worth €44, chief whip Paul Keogh, who ordered cards costing €213 and Minister of State for Food Shane McEntee, who ordered cards at a cost of €53.
However, in 2011 the vast majority of the over 200,000 Christmas cards that were printed on behalf of Oireachtas members were in the last two months before Christmas.
Members of Fine Gael had the highest printing costs in the period at €217,109; Labour members’ costs ran to €118,957; Fianna Fáil members’ print bills stood at €82,635; Independents’ costs were €45,659; while Sinn Féin’s printing costs reached €44,724.
The Oireachtas printing facility cost €981,377 to run in the year until October 2012 and a further €1,045,866 in 2011.
Both figures include wages and pension contributions for 10 staff, printing and paper costs, consumables, maintenance, equipment, spare parts and waste disposal.