Michael Noonan’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion that e-voting machines could be a novelty factor in pubs got few Number Ones from publicans yesterday. Mr Noonan aired the notion that the 7,500 machines could be an attraction in Irish pubs around the world. He failed to explain, however, how they would be packed and shipped to far-flung venues. Pub owners were certainly not taking the suggestion in the spirit with which it was delivered by Mr Noonan. He reckons they would give punters and emigrants the chance to vent their electoral anger on 7,500 electronic machines rather than turning to jukeboxes and gaming machines.
Mr Noonan said: “Fianna Fail thought it would not be fashionable, as Bertie (Ahern) said, to be ‘using the peann luaidhe’ any more and that you needed to have a hi-tech machine. “But when the hi-tech machine was checked out it didn’t do the job that it was supposed to do so the system was flawed. They are valueless now.
“There may be a market for them in Irish-themed pubs across the world,” he added in a last minute sales pitch. Environment Minister Phil Hogan has already admitted they might not even get any offers for the machines — but they will still go to tender before the end of the month. He said he wants to “finally draw a line” under the fiasco.