Thursday, 5 April 2007

Ceisteanna (23, 24, 25)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

20 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the expenditure to date, including purchase, storage, training and public relations costs, for the proposed electronic voting system; the Election, at which he expects the system to be next used; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13266/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

39 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the type and length of lease put in place for the storage of the electronic voting machines, prior to their move to Gormanstown military base; the amount it cost the State to nullify these leases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13392/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

536 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the costs incurred to date by the Exchequer arising from the electronic voting programme including the costs of the storage of the machines. [13761/07]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 39 and 536 together.

The total cost incurred to date in the development and roll-out of the electronic voting and counting system is €51.3 million (including some €46 million in respect of hardware costs, €2.6 million in respect of awareness and education initiatives and €0.1 million in training costs for returning officers and their staff). In addition, information provided by returning officers to my Department indicates that the annual storage costs for the electronic voting machines and ancillary equipment is currently some €706,000, with figures for 2005 and 2004 amounting to some €696,000 and €658,000 respectively.

Arrangements are now underway for the storage of electronic voting equipment at centralised premises in Gormanston and machines from a number of constituencies have already been transferred to the Gormanston facility. It is not possible to detail conclusively at this stage the total costs which will be associated with the centralised storage arrangements. Arrangements have been made for the procurement of 48 metal storage containers and ancillary items for Gormanston Aerodrome at a cost of €112,750 (excluding VAT). In addition, preparatory work has been carried out on the hangar at a cost of some €7,000.Responsibility for the security and safe storage of manual voting equipment is a matter for returning officers, who are statutorily responsibility for conducting the polls. Accordingly, similar responsibility was assigned to them in relation to the storage of the electronic voting machines and equipment. In the majority of cases, returning officers entered into leases in respect of storage premises for the machines. I propose to circulate with the Official Report a tabular statement setting out information provided by returning officers regarding storage arrangements entered into by them in each of the 25 locations involved. It would not be appropriate to comment at this stage on detailed costs that might be involved in the buy-out of leases given the commercial considerations involved.

The timing of the further use of the system is dependent on the outcome of the ongoing work of the Cabinet Committee on Electronic Voting, the associated decisions arising in this regard, and the dates on which future polls may be held.

City/County

Duration of Lease

Carlow-Kilkenny

2 years

Cavan-Monaghan

25 years

Clare

Monthly basis

Cork City

10 years

Cork County

Annual basis

Donegal

Annual basis

Dublin City

8 years

Dublin County

Annual basis

Galway

N/A (Voting Machines stored in the courthouse)

Kerry

10 years

Kildare

9 years 9 months with 5 year break clause

Laois-Offaly

5 years

Limerick

4 years 9 months

Longford

4 years 9 months

Roscommon

2 years 6 months

Louth

N/A (Town council premises)

Mayo

Annual basis

Meath

9 years 9 months

Sligo

N/A (Voting Machines stored in the courthouse)

Leitrim

1 year

Tipperary (N&S)

5 years

Waterford

10 years

Westmeath

4 years 9 months

Wexford

Monthly basis

Wicklow

Annual basis