10,000 Michael Healy-Rae calendars thrown away due to typo
A total of 10,000 taxpayer-produced calendars for Michael Healy-Rae were discarded because his last name was missing a hyphen.
The typo, in his e-mail address, was not detected until after printing the personalized calendars.
They were then not recovered by Michael Healy-Rae and ended up in the recycling bin of the Oireachtas printing works. They have not been reprinted.
The price of similar calendars online can go up to €4 per calendar for a print run of 100 copies. But even if the price were only €1, the cost of underpriced calendars would mean €10,000 of taxpayers’ money wasted on a TD’s calendars.
And they were among 120,160 copies of printed items, including newsletters, maps and flyers that were thrown away after TDs and senators failed to retrieve them from the facility funded by the Condition over the past two years.
Asked about the 10,000 calendars that were thrown away after asking for them to be printed, Mr Healy-Rae said: ‘That’s never happened to me in my life, has it?’
“What I know about this situation is that there was some type of technical issue that was way beyond my control. And that’s what happened in this case,” he said. He added.However, when it was suggested that the evidence document contained a typo and that was the reason the calendars were not used, he confirmed that was the case.
“I wasn’t going to go into detail because I don’t want to appear like I’m blaming anyone. I think the polite thing to say is ‘a technical issue that was out of my control’ and then I don’t say nothing about anyone,” the independent TD said. “It was out of my control…and when something goes wrong or wrong, it goes to recycling.”
The same mistake was made on his 2019 calendar, which he used anyway.
TDs and Senators can use the Oireachtas printing facility free of charge for the production of material related to their parliamentary duties. In addition, they have access to state-subsidized graphic designers for this purpose.
Typically, Oireachtas members provide the designers with the text to be used in the printed document, and the designers return with a proof which is then reviewed and signed by the TD or Senator before going to print.
Other print jobs deleted after not being collected in 2020 and 2021 include 15,000 newsletters for FG Senator Tim Lombard, 12,600 newsletters for FF Senator Mary Fitzpatrick and 10,000 newsletters for Labor Senator Mark Wall .
Three separate print jobs for a total of 33,360 newsletters were removed after Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell failed to collect them. His colleague, Josepha Madigan, also failed to collect three print jobs totaling 9,400 newsletters.
Fianna Fáil junior minister Thomas Byrne failed to collect 9,000 newsletters in March 2020. He said he had ‘forgotten’ to collect them due to the ‘radical change in working practices’ following the the COVID-19 pandemic. “I regret this oversight,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the print shop said print jobs are recycled if not collected after a period of time. “MPs have the right to use the facility in the course of their parliamentary duties and are responsible for compliance with the use of the facility,” she said.