Attempts by a private company to sell some of the controversial e-voting machines for charity have been blocked by the Department of the Environment. Kurt Kyck of KMK Metals Recycling Ltd in Tullamore, Co Offaly, which bought the machines from the government, was told by a department official yesterday that attempts to sell 100 of them for charity were in breach of the terms of his contract. The machines, which have cost the State €55 million, were sold for scrap to Mr Kyck’s company for just €70,000 last week. Mr Kyck had indicated he would sell 100 of the machines for charity at €100 each, with the money going to children’s charity Barretstown. He had come up with the idea after receiving many inquiries from people interested in buying one of the machines. He said he had received more than 130 inquiries from organisations as diverse as small museums and pubs that wanted to put them on display.
Mr Kyck acknowledged that the terms of his contract stipulated that the machines must be “irreversibly disassembled and put entirely beyond functional use”. Although the machines to be sold for charity would have been hollowed out, with all the electronics taken out, and therefore put beyond functional use, the department is insisting they be “irreversibly disassembled” too.
Mr Kyck said: “I have a contract with the Department of the Environment and I have to honour this contract. It is part of my company’s integrity. “They [the department] wish to keep some of the machines for themselves. If there were too many of them as curiosity items, the academic and historical value would be diminished.” He said he would make alternative plans to donate to Barretstown.