The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has “serious concerns” over how the Oireachtas has spent €1.3m on a printer that doesn’t fit into the office it was bought for.
Speaking at the launch of its latest report, PAC chairman Sean Fleming said the huge spend is “a bit strange” and needs to explained fully.
He was speaking after the Dáil’s top civil servant, Clerk Peter Finnegan, has promised to deliver a report to the PAC on how the printer saga unfolded.
“I would like to see what was done. I understand the public concern, It is a bit strange the money was paid out long before the machine was due to come in. There are serious concerns about it,” said Sean Fleming, PAC Chairman.
The PAC will also go and see the office site to “judge for ourselves” the work done and whether it represents value for money.
Oireachtas officials spent €808,000 on a state-of-the-art printer for the campus, only for the machine not to fit in the office it was meant for.
Emails released confirmed the price of the Komori printer in addition to €236,000 worth of structural works to fit it into the building, due to the need to tear down walls and embed structural steel for to give it the height clearance needed to operate.
However, when the printer arrived at the Oireachtas on December 5 last year, it became apparent the printer, which is 2.1m high and 1.9m wide, would not fit into the space.
Mr Fleming was critical of Mr Finnegan’s failure to more fully disclose the issue when he appeared before the committee in July.
“We would have appreciated having more information on the day,” said the PAC chair. He said the printer bought in 2018 and is not expected to be in use until 2020, is in storage and which is costing thousands of Euro every month.
The PAC also described as “dangerous” the decision of the Department of Finance to use new data protection laws to not reveal payments to lawyers it used in the €14bn Apple Appeal.
PAC Vice Chair Alan Kelly said the department’s rationale appears to be changing on foot of inquiries by him and by the Irish Examiner.
It also revealed that a State fund set up to support jobs in Ireland lost €750,000 on an investment because of a “human error”.
When the rate of exchange moved against the fund, it lost thousands because it failed to put in place a mechanism to offset a loss caused by a movement in currencies.
The investment was made by the State’s Strategic Investment Fund, which is part of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).
The NTMA said it was confident that such a situation could not happen again.
Source: Full Feed