February 29, 2012
Aengus Ó Snodaigh defends the use of €50,000 ($67,317) in just two years, insisting he is not a “freeloader”.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD), has defended the ordering of over 400 toner cartridges, valued at €50,000, reports Belfast Telegraph.
Snodaigh insisted that “I’m no freeloader. Part of my job as a public representative is to ensure that the public who elected me are informed about what’s going on in the constituency.” He stated that he would not have run up the significant bill had the Oireachtas, the National Parliament of Ireland, told him how much it was costing at the taxpayer’s expense.
“Hindsight’s a great thing – it looks excessive, but the amount of material I was printing was at that scale, and it was being delivered door to door in that scale. Nobody ever raised with me, in Leinster House, the cost of it or that it was excessive, or anything else.”
Described by Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald as a prolific “leafleteer”, McDonald admitted that the €50,000 bill was excessive but stipulated that the Oireachtas was equally at fault.
Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin has called for an investigation into the usage of the cartridges: “It needs to be investigated, there is no doubt this is an extraordinary amount”, with the volume of ink would have meant Snodaigh printed 1,000 letters for every one of his constituents over the two-year period.
The Oireachtas was introduced a €2,000 ($2,692) cap on the use of ink cartridges as of 2009, although Snodaigh has run a €3,000 ($4,039) bill he has yet to pay back.
“I will pay it back. I’ve no excuse. It’s a bill that will stay with me until I do. It’s not as if I put that money in my pocket and walked away scot-free.” Snodaigh had not stated that he will pay back a percentage of the €50,000 bill.
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