Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan this afternoon announced plans to try to sell off the State’s unused 7,500 electronic voting machines. Earlier, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the machines, which have cost the State nearly €55 million since 2002, are now “valueless”. In a statement following today’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Hogan said a request for tenders will be issued by the end of this month seeking proposals for either the purchase of the equipment or for their disposal. “I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and also see that the equipment is disposed of properly,” Mr Hogan said. “Every effort must be made now to sell the equipment and get as much of these costs back as is possible in the circumstances.
He said the market is to be tested to see if there are any interested parties that may want to buy the machines. “While being optimistic we also need to be realistic. It is possible that no reasonable or acceptable offer for sale will be received.” If they cannot be sold, the Government will consider proposals to dispose of them, he said. “If this is the outcome of the tendering process, the electronic voting machines would then be dismantled,” he said. “The recovery process would be carried out in line with national legislation and European regulations on the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
The Government is looking to sell, recycle or dispose of 7,500 voting machines; 154 reading units for uploading candidate details and downloading votes; 12,842 ballot modules used to store votes cast; 292 cases for carrying the units and modules; 1,232 transport and storage trolleys and 2,142 hand trolleys; 4,787 metal tilt tables the machine sit on and 918 tray attachments. This morning, Mr Noonan blamed the previous government for wasting taxpayers’ money on the machines.