Fianna Fáil has today published a Bill to ensure that Irish SMEs are finally given a level playing field in competing for public procurement contracts. The Bill, which will be moved by Senator Darragh O’Brien in the Seanad today, has the potential to significantly increase the number of jobs in the Irish SME sector.
Senator O’Brien explained, “Unlike many other EU countries, Ireland focuses solely on the lowest tender price offered for contracts with no consideration whatsoever of the social and longer term economic impact. It means that Irish SMEs are completely undermined when competing for Government contracts when compared to their European counterparts.
“Every single year the State tenders for over €8.5 billion worth of goods and services. Most European countries have introduced a social clause to allow the State to choose offers which may not be the lowest initial cost, but will have significant social and economic benefit to the region in the long-run in terms of job creation and business investment. Ireland’s failure to do this has undermined our SMEs and resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs.
“Under our Bill, public bodies will be required to consider the economic, social and environmental well-being of bids for all public contracts. If we allow the status quo where the price being offered is the only consideration, international companies will continue to beat smaller Irish businesses, to the detriment of our economy in the long-run.
“The Government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the economy. This is very simple step we can take to ensure that the State better supports SMEs and encourages growth and job creation in our local businesses. I am seeking to have this Bill debated at the earliest possible opportunity. It’s an extremely constructive proposal that will result in more jobs, stronger SMEs and a stronger local economy. I will be urging all parties and independents to support it.”