Politicians used Oireachtas printer to produce nearly 25m items since last year

FF’s Jack Chambers produced more material than any other TD or senator

 Jack Chambers of Fianna Fáil. File photograph: Fran Veale

Jack Chambers of Fianna Fáil. File photograph: Fran Veale

 

TDs and senators used the Oireachtas print facility to produce nearly 25 million items including bookmarks, postcards, visitors’ books and sympathy cards since the beginning of last year.

The cost of the materials used to produce the 24,816,150 newsletters, posters, flyers and other printed documents was €599,655. This does not include the cost of running and staffing the taxpayer-funded print facility.

Four Sinn Féin politicians including leader Mary Lou McDonald used the facility to produce a total of 20,000 A3 posters of the 1916 Proclamation.

The same item is sold on the Sinn Féin bookshop website for €4.99. However, a party spokesperson said these were not the same posters and had been separately produced by a commercial printer.

The spokesperson said the posters ordered by deputies Mary Lou McDonald, Martin Ferris and Aengus Ó Snodaigh, as well as Senator Fintan Warfield, were given to visitors attending Leinster House as a souvenir.

“These are not the same posters that have periodically been offered for sale by the Sinn Féin bookshop,” the spokesperson said.

The only other Oireachtas member who ordered posters of the Proclamation during 2018 and 2019 was Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone, who requested 250 copies.

Fianna Fáil deputy Jack Chambers produced more printed material than any other TD or senator during the period, ordering 628,700 copies from the facility. This included 392,100 newsletters and 1,300 visitors’ books.

Fine Gael TD Noel Rock ordered 546,255 copies of items including 255 posters and 202,500 newsletters, while 10,000 visitors books were among 518,500 items ordered by Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin.

It was revealed earlier this week TDs and senators had used the Oireachtas printing facilities to produce 271,250 personalised calendars and 34,450 Christmas cards in the past 12 months.

Other unusual items printed at the request of elected members include 2,000 bookmarks ordered by Tánaiste Simon Coveney, and 2,500 of the same product requested by Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.

Some 16 Oireachtas members ordered a total of 16,400 sympathy cards from the print facility. These included six Ministers: Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, Paul Kehoe, Simon Harris, Patrick O’Donovan, Josepha Madigan, and Pat Breen.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan printed 122,600 copies during the period, including 93,800 newsletters, while Minister for the Environment Richard Bruton ordered 339,410 copies of items.

The print facility processed one order for 9,000 two-page flyers last September for Timothy Dalton, who was described in records released under the Freedom of Information Act as a Fianna Fáil TD. Timothy Dalton is understood to be a graphic designer working for Fianna Fáil.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith used the free printing facility to produce 20,000 two-page newsletters about climate change in July 2018.

The single most expensive print job ordered by an Oireachtas member was a run of 51,000 20-page booklets for Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor last September, the material for which cost €1,982.

Four of the six most-expensive jobs were ordered by Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone. These included 60,000 copies of a four-page A3 newsletter, and three runs of 59,000 copies of four-page A4 newsletters.