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pricey printing Further €50,000 spent on printing facility in Dáil that already cost €1.8m

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The infamous Komori printer

The infamous Komori printer

The infamous Komori printer

Almost €50,000 has been spent on further works at the Dáil printing facility.

The spending is on top of the €1.8m spent on an upgrade of the service for TDs and Senators including the purchase of a state-of-the-art Komori printer which still isn't in use a year after it was installed.

A blunder over the size of the printer - which was too big to fit the room where it was to be located - accounted for €429,000 of those costs.

Staff training on the new equipment began in March but halted because of the pandemic as the UK-based trainer couldn't travel to Ireland due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The training process was previously on hold amid negotiations with the union representing workers over health and safety and workflow issues.

Office of Public Works (OPW) records show the cost of work carried out at the Oireachtas Printing facility in 2020 has come to €48,473.

The work was done after issues were raised by the OPW's Fire and Security section.

There was also work requested by the Oireachtas to address "user needs".

It included work relating to fire alarms as well as the installation of automatic doors to facilitate the handling of pallets of paper.

A new suspended ceiling was fitted in one of the printing rooms.

The Oireachtas and OPW said this was a different room to the one which was previously altered to fit the height of the new Komori printer.

An OPW spokesperson said the spending of almost €50,000 "relates to maintenance/upgrade works carried out on the ceilings of the Print Facility including mechanical and electrical upgrades."

Protect

They added: "This did not include any works to the room housing the Komori printer."

The OPW said that the only expenditure to date in 2020 on that room was €838 to install ductworks to protect the equipment.

The Komori printer was installed at the end of September 2019.

Staff training on the new machine did not begin until March this year before it was halted as the pandemic took hold.

The printer purchased was too big for the Oireachtas room where it was to be housed.

It later emerged that €314,453 in building work had to be carried out so that it would fit.

Storage costs for the printer after it was bought but couldn't be installed came to a total of €14,760.

There was €100,000 in outsourcing costs for printing.

Last year, Oireachtas secretary general Peter Finnegan said he understood public anger over the €1.8m in costs related to the project to upgrade the printing facility.

He said "it is an awful lot of money" and admitted the project was not well managed.

Mr Finnegan told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in December: "There's no one sorrier than me that we're in the position we're in here today."

He said "serious mistakes were made. There's no denying that."

Mr Finnegan said the old printing machines would have required spending of more than €500,000 to keep them in operation and he'd have been challenged by the PAC on that if they hadn't been replaced.

He said there are "important lessons to be learned from this project".

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