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There is a 'Skype facility' in Leinster House after all. Well, sort of...

TheJournal.ie has done some digging today…

"Hello, can you put me through to the Skype facility, please?"
Image: Photocall Ireland

THE CONTROVERSY OVER a Fine Gael TD’s €2,000 worth of calls from Leinster House to Kenya has led to, er, calls for TDs and Senators to use free internet phone services such as Skype instead of phones paid for by the taxpayer.

Michelle Mulherin has since repaid the money for the international calls to Africa which she insists were not personal.

She told the Irish Independent today that she would love a system within the Dáil where “an alarm bell or system would notify people if there are high tariffs on particular calls”.

The Mayo deputy went onto tell the paper that “even a Skype facility within Leinster House” would be useful.

As you might expect, this drew some derision online today.

But it does beg the question as to whether TDs, Senators and anyone else working in Leinster House can actually use applications like Skype.

So we asked…

Authorities have confirmed that members and staff are restricted from installing software such as Skype on Oireachtas devices, including their computers, as they are not administrators.

This was confirmed by Fianna Fáil senator Thomas Byrne on Twitter today:

However, a spokesperson for the Houses of the Oireachtas said that Skype can be accessed on personal devices as long as they’re connected to certain WiFi networks operating in the complex.

Several different WiFi networks operate within Leinster House with different security protocols for each based on who is using them.

“Skype can be accessed if connected to the correct tier and users experiencing problems should contact the ICT Support Desk,” a spokesperson said.

Theoretically Skype can be used on non-Oireachtas laptops and mobile devices connected to the guest WiFi operating in Leinster House.

This network is used by media organisations including TheJournal.ie. So, this afternoon we successfully placed a Skype call back to our main HQ on this guest WiFi network.

The spokesperson added that another WiFi network allows access to Skype for “known mobile devices”.

What about other services?

As for other internet phone services such as Apple’s FaceTime, Byrne claimed on Twitter today that even that doesn’t work in Leinster House:

However, using the same Leinster House guest WiFi network we normally use TheJournal.ie was able to FaceTime with our former colleague and Today FM’s political correspondent Gavan Reilly in Leinster House this evening.

We had a right laugh together as you can see:

IMG_4603

Unfortunately this particular network does not appear to be available to TDs or Senators.

Fine Gael TD: “Yes, I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal.”

Read: 7 inevitable responses to Michelle Mulherin’s call for a Dáil ‘Skype facility’

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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