Offer of free iPads to TDs criticised

 

TDs were invited to apply for free iPads the day after the budget by Oireachtas authorities.

The contract to provide the state-of-the-art touchscreen tablets has been placed with Vodafone.

An email sent to the 166 deputies on Thursday urged them to contact the Information Communications Technology unit “immediately” so the Houses of the Oireachtas Service could establish how many devices to order.

“The specification of the devices is iPad with retina display and A6X processor, 32gb, WiFi, 3G. Please note the service will not supply Sim cards with the iPads,” the email said.

The iPad can retail at between €479 and €799, depending on capacity, while the recently unveiled iPad Mini costs from €275.

The plan to supply the tablets to TDs has been criticised by Labour deputy Eamonn Maloney and Fine Gael’s John Paul Phelan.

Cut print costs

The Oireachtas said the decision was part of a strategy to reduce print production costs and move towards a “print on demand” strategy in respect of parliamentary documents.

Two options are available to TDs. An iPad bought for them by the Oireachtas “will be considered to be an advance replacement of an existing computer”.

They may also choose to buy the devices themselves, with the option of claiming back the cost “as an allowable expense under the Parliamentary Representation Allowance scheme”.

If they buy the iPads themselves, the devices will not be repaired or replaced by the Oireachtas if problems arise, whether or not they recoup the expense. The devices will be available to TDs by the end of next February.

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