Tablets for TDs and Senators should bring healthier workload
POLITICIANS OFTEN stand accused of pinching and swiping when budget day arrives, but by later this year it will be a daily occurrence around the austere corridors of Leinster House.
The Oireachtas Commission has decided to go to tender to purchase tablet devices to be used by all members of the Oireachtas as part of their parliamentary work in Leinster House.
An Oireachtas source has confirmed that the body which administers the national parliament has approved a plan to purchase the tablets. By the winter you can expect to see a quite different Dáil chamber with members accessing the text of Bills or checking facts in the Oireachtas Library as they debate a Bill.
“It is all part of modernising our national parliament and is in step with changes in parliaments worldwide,” said the source.
There should be “real and immediate” benefits to TDs and Senators as they move from plenary sessions of the Dáil or Seanad to the Oireachtas committee rooms. It will give them instant access to facts and will support their scrutiny of legislation and witnesses who come before committees.
More than 200 of the devices will be given free to TDs and Senators, but will have to be handed back if they lose their seat in the Dáil or Seanad. The devices will remain Oireachtas property, according to the source.
An Apple iPad was selling in a Dublin shop yesterday at prices between €479 and €799, depending on capacity.
It is envisaged the purchase of tablets will be “cost-neutral” as it will be recouped through savings in printing costs over a three-year period.
“This is the first step in a series of measures which we hope will reduce significantly the printing costs involved in the day-to-day business of the parliament,” added the source.
The Oireachtas will conduct an open competitive tendering process over the coming month.