Ten thousand taxpayer-funded calendars printed for Michael Healy-Rae were thrown into the trash because of the missing hyphen

A total of 10,000 taxpayer-produced calendars for Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae were thrown away after it was discovered that a hyphen was missing from the proof sent to the Oireachtas print shop.

The typo was only detected after printing the personalized calendars.

They were then not picked up by Mr Healy-Rae and ended up in the print shop’s recycling bin.

The calendars were among 120,160 copies of printed items including newsletters, maps and flyers that were thrown away after TDs and senators failed to collect 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 never happened to me in my life, did it?

“What I do 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.

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 get into that because I don’t want to sound 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’m not saying anything about anyone,” the independent TD said.

“It was out of my control, I couldn’t do anything about it, and when something goes wrong or wrong, it goes to recycling.

“But, like I said, it was out of my control.”

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 that have been removed after remaining uncollected in 2020 and 2021 include 15,000 newsletters produced for Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard, 12,600 newsletters for Fianna Fáil Senator Mary Fitzpatrick and 10,000 newsletters for Senator Labor Mark Wall.

Three separate print jobs for a total of 33,360 newsletters were removed after Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell failed to retrieve them from the establishment.

His colleague, Josepha Madigan, also failed to collect three print jobs involving a total of 9,400 newsletters.

Fianna Fáil Minister of State Thomas Byrne failed to collect three orders totaling 9,000 newsletters in March 2020.

He said he had “neglected” collecting the items due to the “drastic change in working practices” following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I regret this oversight,” he added.

A spokeswoman for the Houses of the Oireachtas service explained that print jobs are recycled if they are not collected for 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.

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