Fianna Fáil Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catheine Ardagh has raised her concerns regarding the Government’s public procurement policy.

Speaking in the Seanad earlier today, Senator Ardagh said, “There are significant challenges facing Irish indigenous SMEs dealing with the Government’s public procurement contract process. The Office of Government Procurement’s drive to centralise public procurement of goods and services is having a detrimental effect on small and medium sized businesses all over in Ireland.

“We regularly hear of how local SME’s are the life blood of our economy yet little is done to ensure that they can pitch for procurement. Despite some superficial changes to criteria, SME’s are simply unable to compete with large companies or their subsidiaries when it comes to attaining a public procurement contract.

“Government advice to small businesses to set up a consortium and join up to tender is too simplistic. High tendering costs for contracts and a lack of transparency also deter SME’s from entering the procurement process.

“The Minister must re-examine this policy and provide more guidance and support to small businesses to ensure that there is fairness and transparency in the procurement process. Our small local businesses need encouragement and incentive to tender for national large lots. A clear message that setting up an SME in Ireland is rewarding and sustainable,” added Senator Ardagh.