LAPTOPS and iPads provided to Cork's 31 city councillors at a cost of €63,000 will "pay for themselves" within two years as the council goes paperless, City Hall has said.
Figures released to The Echo show that iPads given to each representative for meetings and constituency work cost €17,017.76.
A SharePoint software system to assist in sharing documents with councillors cost an additional €10,000 and will also be used as an information-sharing platform elsewhere across Cork City Council.
Dell laptops were also given to the councillors so they can carry out day to day work.
The decision to go paperless, Cork City Council says, will allow the local authority to maximise its spend on IT hardware as well as providing environmental and further cost-saving benefits.
A spokesperson for the council said the investment in the equipment will provide savings on paper and staff costs.
“iPads were deemed necessary for the ‘paperless council’ as they are more lightweight and portable and can be easily brought to the council meetings, strategic policy committees, local area meetings, briefings, community meetings and conferences that councillors attend each month.
“The SharePoint facility - which will be used in a number of forms by Cork City Council - allows councillors to easily access important documents and reports from these multiple locations, without wifi. A paperless council is more environmentally friendly, allows greater council efficiency and cost savings.
“With savings on distribution in an expanded city, on printing, on paper and staff hours, it’s expected that the ‘paperless council’ project will pay for itself within 24 months,” the spokesperson added.
The purchase of laptops is part of the council’s normal IT budgeting over the five-year life cycle of the council.
Corporate Affairs and International Relations Director of Services, Paul Moynihan said: “It is a big change in how we conduct our business. The benefits are clear however and it means that elected members will be able to access information for constituents at the touch of a button on all devices”.