Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Procurement Frank O’Rourke TD says he is disappointed following the publication of the Government guidelines on public procurement.
Deputy O’Rourke added that the guidelines contain nothing new and offer little comfort for Irish SME’s who wish to compete for State contracts.
Deputy O’Rourke said, “These guidelines have already been in existence for quite some time and yet little has actually changed on the ground. Irish SME’s continue to find it difficult to complete for State procurement contracts in the face of stiff opposition from large multinational companies. Of the 121 page publication on the new guidelines just 2 pages have been dedicated to the role of Irish SME’s. Nothing new is actually contained in these two pages, it’s just a rehash of previous guidelines.
“There is little sign that any attention will be paid to these guidelines as evidenced by previous experience. We have had situations where previous public contracts have made it impossible for Irish SME’s to compete for State procurement contracts. In these cases we have seen potential jobs and resources going to other countries.
“Fianna Fáil has already brought forward comprehensive proposals to deal with this problem. The Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill 2017 will increase competition in the tendering process by enhancing the ability for SME’s to compete for State tenders.
“The Bill requires any State body, local authority or Department issuing a tender to take into account the impact of awarding a contract in the local and national economy. Other countries such as Denmark, France, Austria and Belgium have already introduced such social value clauses.
“This Bill goes beyond the current guidelines by compelling public bodies to try and level the playing field for Irish SME’s when competing for public contracts. I’m hoping that the Bill will receive cross-party support when it goes before the Dáil for consideration,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.