Ahern denies e-voting money was wasted

Tuesday 04 May 2004 23.01
Electronic voting - Govt denies money wasted
Electronic voting - Govt denies money wasted

The Taoiseach has denied that money spent on electronic voting has been wasted, despite the Government's decision not to use it for June's local and European elections.

Bertie Ahern said the machines would be used in future elections, once the Commission on Electronic Voting was satisfied about them.

He was responding to questions from the leaders of Fine Gael and Labour, who both called for the resignation of Environment Minister Martin Cullen.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the Commission had only been set up on the insistence of the Opposition.

He said the €52 million in question could have bought 60,000 computers for schools, and taken many thousands off the hospital waiting lists. He said the minister would be sacked in any other company for such flagrant abuse of the public purse.

In its interim report which was published on Friday, the commission said it could not recommend the use of the system in June because it had not carried out enough tests.

Legislation allowing electronic voting to be used in local and European elections will continue through the Oireachtas this week.

The Bill also deals with a number of other matters, including the establishment of the commission on a statutory footing.