Million Euro Question

at

Leinster House

On Saturday.

In The Irish Times.

Craig Hughes reported:

“Significant” and costly structural works had to be carried out to fit a €808,000 state-of-the-art printer into the Houses of the Oireachtas offices in Leinster House.

Internal emails show that Oireachtas officials miscalculated the measurements required for the Komori printer to fit into either of the two printing rooms in the building on Kildare Street.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the Oireachtas estimated the work required to accommodate the printer would cost €236,000. This included tearing down walls and embedding structural steel in order to give it the height clearance it needs to operate.

…While the printer has been installed at Kildare House, it is not currently in use due to an industrial relations stand-off between the Oireachtas and staff tasked with using the machine, who argue they need to be remunerated for work that requires up-skilling.

Works of at least €230,000 required to fit printer in Oireachtas (Craig Hughes, The Irish Times)

36 thoughts on “Million Euro Question

  1. Spaghetti Hoop

    They don’t detail the type of printer, but if it was a sheet-fed litho as some of the images suggest, then that requires skilled operators, not parliamentary staff. It also works efficiently if continuous and worked in shifts. Even a high-end digital printer requires skilled staff. Outsourcing publications would have made far more sense to print houses. Who approved this?

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I would agree. I worked as a printer’s assistant when I was going through college, and that was just an offset system which has it’s own challenges. I got to work alongside the lito team a few times, and the skill involved was incredible.

      The print finishing team at that place was also an incredibly skilled section.

      This is not like putting your stack of papers in the photocopier feed and hitting ‘Copy’

  2. paul

    what a fcking joke, what was it going to be used for? Who thought this was a good idea? They can throw themselves into the printer now. Thundering gobdaw.

  3. Col

    “who argue they need to be remunerated for work that requires up-skilling.”
    Meanwhile, people all over the country are paying to up-skill themselves on their own time.

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I would agree, and indeed am doing that myself right now. But it is with an expectation that after I have upskilled I get additional salary to reflect my increased worth to the organisation. However, I would like to know more about the details. If they are asking for the training to be provided or paid for, this mitigates what additional salary they should be reasonably expecting.

    2. curmudgeon

      Look its like this, if you’re private sector YOU train yourself on what you need to do to earn a crust and hope the course/qualification/knowledge was worth it & in demand. If you’re in the public sector you get to go on full blown degree courses while still getting your salary, once attained you get an automatic increase in pay even if your actual job hasn’t changed one jot.

      1. Cian

        Many (most?) private sector companies pay for training for their staff – from Burger King to Google.
        Unless you are a contractor – then you pay for your own training..

        At one stage (I don’t know If it still there) if you were in the armed forces and they paid for you to attend (IT-related) training courses it automatically added time to your service/you had to refund [on a sliding scale]the cost of the course if you left within a set number of years (related to the course cost).

        1. curmudgeon

          In the private sector if you’re company pays you for training they’ll lock you in to it by making sure you can’t just leave after you’re done, or if you do they’ll make you pay for the training after the fact. This applies to basic things too like manual handling, which is usually an hour long and done in house. If you leave a company even months after doing this, they’ll take it out of your pay. This is of course all stated in your contract of employment beforehand. However I know of no private compnanies that would train staff up to degree level while on full pay. Or allow them to go on sabbatical where they can take months off and work in the private sector during this time, and return to work same pay same grade.

          But as I alluded to, the reason education & additional qualifications are so important in the public sector (even if they have zero bearing on their actual job), is so they can claim that their massively higher pay is justified by them simply having more of them than private sector workers.

  4. Jonjo

    Why do they need this in the Oireachtas? Can they not print off site or pay someone?

    Love to know what they’re planning on printing.

    1. Slightly Bemused

      I did ask this once before. It is so they can print confidential documents without worry (so security) and also to ensure they get copies of white papers and such to all members, with the printers often working overnight after final drafts are decided at silly hours, when commercial ventures are closed.

      They do also outsource for less sensitive items.

      To me, it makes sense that they can do this in-House…

    2. Panty Christ

      Think Cahills print was the de facto public service / state printers. The dail only did a tiny amount of the output just for show. The old Cahills staff now long retired on rolls royce pensions

  5. Hugh Let-Packard

    3D printer to print 3TD versions and claim expenses for attendance. SF Toner-Wolfe jokes next.

  6. Dr.Fart

    absolutely do not need a printer of that calibre. stupid spendthrifts. ploughed on ahead with it anyway, even needing to tear down and rebuild walls. no expense too great when you’re a stubborn, incompetent idiot with taxpayers money to burn.

  7. V

    Well they’re going to need a Consultants Report
    And a PAC hearing before this gets anywhere

    So don’t burn yerselves out just yet lads

    1. italia'90

      In fairness to the opw architect, she red flagged this very issue to your good friend Sean Fleming at a PAC hearing several months before works even began

      I’d be asking why the Mech Elec contractor proceeded with these works knowing full well that there were obvious issues with the installment of this over sized piece of equipment?

      Also, Peter “WAG” Finnegan needs to face some serious scrutiny and reveal all communications regarding specific ICT and Printing Services tenders over the past 4 years in Leinster House – the overspend is ridiculous

  8. Liam Deliverance

    They started this process in March 2018, printer delivered in Dec 2018, installed Sep 2019. Did they not think at any time about hiring staff to run the printer when it was finally installed?

    1. italia'90

      +€2k per month in rent to store the printer in Blanchardstown when there were cheaper options availabe in secure government owned buildings on Kildare street???

        1. italia'90

          If they can fit 200 fully kitted riot squad gardai into the permanently vacant ground floor of the building I’m thinking of then, yes, they could fit it in there

          1. Cian

            The machine – which is 2.1m high by 1.9m wide
            Unless there are riot police that are six-foot-ten tall (and can’t bend) and six-foot-two wide then your point is moot.

  9. Ron

    Incompetence, ineptitude, and unacceptable. They do it because there are zero consequences! They should be dragged out of Leinster House kicking and screaming if the Irish electorate had any sense of moral compass or concern for the out of control waste happening in this country and being instigated by some of the biggest wasters this banana republic has produced.

    But the usual subservient electorate just say “tut tut tut” and move on. It really is true, all the intelligent people did leave the country.

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