Belfast Telegraph

Taxpayers face bill for IDA iPads

Taxpayers face a bill potentially running into tens of thousands of euro under plans to buy state-of-the-art iPads for IDA chiefs.

Officials are looking at buying two of the Apple hand-held computers initially, and possibly 26 more.

The sleek device - slightly smaller than an A4 page and just 9mm (0.4in) thick - allows users to access the internet, upload and take photos, read books, and play music and games.

Officials are looking at the costs of buying the iPad 2 model which has 64GB of memory and is wi-fi enabled, and the price of adding a 3G mobile connection, which would allow users to access the internet anywhere.

Apple is charging 679 euro for wi-fi only, and 799 euro with 3G included, meaning taxpayers could be hit with a bill of up to 22,372 euro.

The two bought initially would be used for "testing purposes".

The plan is for board members and other committee members to use the computers to access official documentation.

An IDA spokesman said the objective was to eliminate paper from all decision-making bodies.

"What we're really trying to do is follow best practice, cut out costs, cut out administration and have an environmental benefit," the spokesman said.

He said the devices would be for IDA use only.

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