2,000 Oireachtas envelopes shredded by ex-members


A CAMPAIGN by the Oireachtas to encourage former TDs and Senators to return unused prepaid envelopes has found more than 2,000 of the envelopes have been shredded by former members “unaware of the value”.

Sitting TDs are entitled to 1,250 so-called Oireachtas envelopes, normally valued at 54 cent each, every month, while Senators may avail of 750.

Former members who lose their seats or retire are expected to return unused envelopes.

Freedom of Information documents reveal some 18,000 envelopes worth about €11,000 have been returned by 10 former members contacted since January.

Of the 114 former members written to, just 25 replied.

The responses revealed envelopes had been shredded in some cases.

An Post will be asked to overlook the shredding incidents, according to a progress report prepared for the commission this month.

“Two former members stated they had shredded up to 2,200 envelopes, unaware of the value of same,” the report said.

“The procurement unit will contact An Post to seek credit for those envelopes shredded, value of €1,188.”

The Houses of the Oireachtas Commission noted last November that since the general election in February 2011, former members had returned €144,000 worth of envelopes issued to them during their tenure as members of the Houses.

The commission decided that remaining former members, who left the Oireachtas after the 2007 and 2011 general elections, should be contacted to request the return of any envelopes still in their possession, “with a view to ensuring efficient use of public resources in the provision of postal facilities for members”.

Ten former members returned 18,164 envelopes worth €11,304.56.

A total of 17,064 plain white envelopes, with a value of 54 cent each, were returned, and the total value of that batch was €9,214.56.

Also returned were 1,100 A4 envelopes with a value of €1.90 each and total value of €2,090.

The report noted one former member saying they had “left unused envelopes in their Leinster House office”, while 12 said they did not have any.

The Oireachtas did not release their names.

When the former TDs and senators were written to again on May 31st, they were told that the Oireachtas could make arrangements for the collection of envelopes if required.

The details were released to The Irish Times following a standard Freedom of Information request to the Houses of the Oireachtas, which costs €15 and takes four weeks to prepare.

Stamps cost 55 cent but the Oireachtas is able to avail of a 54-cent rate.

The prepaid envelopes do not have to be used within specific dates.