TAXPAYERS are expected to be hit with a bill of more than €200,000 to provide TDs, senators and department officials with handheld tablet computers.
The Houses of the Oireachtas Service has started a tender process looking for a company to provide around 300 tablet computer devices.
The successful firm will also be required to provide support and maintenance for the computers -- which will be handed to each of the 166 TDs and 60 senators in the Dail and Seanad.
The rest of the computers have been requested by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Attorney General's office in a cost-saving, bulk-purchase initiative.
A spokesman for the Oireachtas said that providing the computers was part of a drive for the "modernisation of the parliament". The tender specifies that the devices must have wi-fi and 3G connectivity.
A 64GB tablet with wi-fi and 3G costs €799, meaning taxpayers could be hit with a bill of up to €240,000 -- excluding maintenance.
However, given that the Oireachtas is buying in bulk, the cost is expected to be significantly less.
The Oireachtas spokesman insisted the project would be 'cost-neutral' over three years.
It was hoped that savings would be made on printing costs because politicians could view important documents on the tablet screen, he said.
The tablets will remain the property of the Oireachtas and will have to be handed back in the event that a TD or senator loses their seat.
Previously, TDs were able to buy computer equipment loaned to them by the Oireachtas at a reduced price.
However, the spokesman could not say if this would be the case with the tablets.