A major programme of improvements on technology supporting the Dáil Chamber will start when the Dáil rises for the summer recess on 21st July.
The programme includes the replacement of critical aspects of the Dáil chamber equipment, namely delegate units containing integrated microphone and voting components and modern Chamber and Committee Room graphical display units.
In 2014 the Houses of the Oireachtas Service established a Working Group to review the technology supporting the chambers, investigate systems in operation in other parliaments and to examine the degree to which the business requirements of the Houses in relation to voting, broadcast and sound systems are met by existing technology.
The group found that the age and obsolescence of the equipment supporting the Chambers represents a critical risk and presents difficulties in respect of quality of output, support and scarcity of spare parts. The vulnerability to failure of critical systems supporting parliamentary business is compounded by the age of the cabling supporting the equipment, which needs to be replaced.
While some elements of the sound equipment have been updated the core of the system remains that from 25 years ago, and the age of the equipment has led to reductions in the sound quality.
The voting system was installed in 2001 and operates on unsupported operating systems with the initialisation of votes from out of date media. The synoptic voting display has become increasingly difficult to support as spare parts are not easily available and repair not possible.
The synoptic voting display will be replaced with modern, high-resolution and remotely controllable, graphical display units capable of numerically and visually summarising vote data; presenting voting summaries; displaying documentations, presentation and videos with throughput to displays around campus.
The quality of voice reinforcement will be improved to the recommended voice reinforcement standards for broadcast quality sound recording and interference caused by proximate cabling and mobile devices will be eliminated
It is envisaged that the works, including the removal of old units and cabling and the installation of new equipment, will take eight weeks with the project completed before the Dáil reconvenes on 27th September.
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