Printing the unprintable
Sir, – Why all the negative comments about the Leinster House printer (Home News, November 29th)? This is a truly extraordinary machine and I can only marvel at how it made the front page of every newspaper in the country. – Yours, etc,
Churchtown, Dublin 14.
Sir, – The Oireachtas printer may be the tip of the iceberg regarding absence of planning and restraint. Did it come out of the budget of the Department of Public Expenditure, and under what estimate did it appear in the budget? – Yours, etc,
Lucan, Co Dublin.
Sir, – During recent debates about Brexit in Westminster, several TDs referred to the proceedings as a “pantomime”. Surely the €1.6 million payment for a printer in the Dáil puts the “Westminster activities” in the shade. To borrow a phrase advertising the panto in a well-known Dublin theatre: “The printer is no ordinary printer, it is the Dáil printer!”
Maybe it’s a case of people in glasshouses . . . – Yours, etc,
Very Rev JOHN FA BOND,
Sir, – As clerk of Dáil Éireann, Mr Peter Finnegan is the secretary general of the Houses of the Oireachtas Service, the body responsible for purchasing the now infamous Leinster House printer.
Separately, Mr Finnegan is also ultimately responsible for the advice provided to the Ceann Comhairle as to whether a specific Bill is one “for the appropriation of revenue” and therefore requires a “Money Message” signed by the Taoiseach – the controversial device being used by the Government to block nearly every opposition Bill which has majority support in the Dáil.
In light of the recent revelation of the staggering amount spent on the Leinster House printer by Mr Finnegan’s office, it is perhaps ironic that the Government is being enabled to impede the Oireachtas’s function as a legislature in this way because of Mr Finnegan’s apparent concern that Government approval should be required for even the most minor of “incidental expenses” required to implement a Bill.
Indeed, so broad has been the interpretation applied by Mr Finnegan and his staff to the notion of “incidental expenses” that some have suggested that it seems to go so far as to capture even the mere costs associated with printing a particular Bill.
While we may still be without a functioning legislature, now, at least, we know why this is the case. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – For goodness sake don’t let the Sinn Féin TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, near that new printer. And be sure not to entrust that fellow with the buying of the ink cartridges for the thing. Have they learned nothing yet in that printing office, or just simply forgotten? – Yours, etc,
Bantry, Co Cork.
Sir, – The printer debacle has raised banner headlines and rightly so, but let us look beyond that. I see no reason why you or I as taxpayers should pay for TDs to print thousands of calendars or indeed any calendars at all.
Furthermore, a reasonable but modest number of ink cartridges should be settled on with each member being entitled to that number per month, no more. Public Accounts Committee please note. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – I agree with Fergus Madden (November 28th), and would add my first rule of thumb when investing in major capital projects, such as purchasing expensive equipment, was to always pose the question “When the ribbon has been cut and the politician, board members, procurement managers, engineers, etc, have had their tea and cakes and gone about their busy lives, who is the person or who are the people left behind to manage and operate the equipment installed”?
Involve these people in the project from the very start and every step along the way and it will reduce unforeseen issues and make for a more content workforce. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – It is said that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I wonder what it would have looked like if it was designed by the Oireachtas service? – Yours, etc,
Dunshaughlin, Co Meath.
Sir, – Service providers, banks and utilities suppliers are all asking us to go paperless in the interests of the environment. Why are the members and staff of the Oireachtas, taking the exact opposite route in such a grotesque fashion? – Yours, etc,