Published: Friday, 29th June, 2012 11:30am
A midlands company has been chosen to finally get rid of Ireland's electronic voting equipment. Environment Minister Phil Hogan announced late yesterday evening that a contract worth just over €70,000 had been signed with KMK Metals Recycling Ltd, an EPA licensed end of life metals recovery facility based in the Cappincur Industrial Estate on the Daingean Road in Tullamore, Co Offaly.
In a statement Minister Hogan said he was pleased to "bring this sorry episode to a conclusion on behalf of the taxpayer". The electronic voting machines were used only a small number of times in selected constituencies on a trial basis at the beginning of this century before being put into storage at a cost of approximately €140,000 per year. The doomed project is reported to have cost taxpayers something in the region of €55 million.
"While this is a scandalous waste of public money, I am happy to say that we will not incur any further costs in the disposal of the machines," Minister Hogan said. "KMK Metals Recycling Ltd will pay €70,267 for all of the equipment. Removal of the equipment from the present storage locations and transportation to the recovery facility by the contractor will commence in the coming week and will be completed by September."
KMK Metals Recycling, which has been in business since 1979, was the preferred bidder of seven tenders submitted when proposals were sought for either the purchase of the e-voting equipment or its recovery as waste. No proposals were received for the purchase of the machines for re-use. The contract for recovery as waste was awarded to KMK Metals Recycling as its quote was the most cost beneficial price according to Minister Hogan.
The inventory of e-voting equipment includes 7,500 voting machines, 154 programme reading units (to upload candidate details and download votes cast), 12,842 ballot modules (to store cast votes), 292 cases, 1,232 transport trolleys, 2,142 hand trolleys, 4,787 tables and 918 tray attachments for tables. Minister Hogan added yesterday that he wants to see an end to the ill-fated project. "I want to finally draw a line under the electronic voting project and to see that the equipment is disposed of properly," he said. "The recovery process will be carred out in line with national legislation and EU regulations on the treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment. The electronic voting machines will now be dismantled. Whatever elements of the equipment can be reused will be reused. The cost of storing the machines has been a subject of particular interest and implementation of the disposal contract will now enable a line to be drawn under these arrangements in the coming weeks."