October 22, 2021
Poor procurement standards in Department of Transport exposed by C&AG report – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has said that a report published by the Comptroller and Auditor General today raises serious concerns about the procurement standards in the Department of Transport and governance at the Irish Coast Guard.

The Meath East TD said:

“This report from the C&AG highlights a litany of issues around the public procurement of vehicles for the Irish Coast Guard.

“In 2015, the Department of Transport signed a contract for the supply and fit-out of vehicles for cliff rescue teams.

“This contract was advertised to have an estimated value of €160,000, but in the end €1.4 million was spent.

“This massive underestimation, which would have discouraged most prospective tenderers, meant only two bids were received, greatly reducing competition, to the detriment of the taxpayer.

“The C&AG found major gaps in the Department’s records of the tendering process for the vehicles, particularly in relation to the evaluation of bids.

“The C&AG said there is no reasonable basis to conclude that the Department conducted a fair and impartial procurement process for the vehicles, which is a damning indictment of a Department with a massive procurement budget.

“This report also raises serious questions about governance at the Irish Coast Guard.

“This report found that, despite having a substantial fleet of 230 vehicles, the Coast Guard has no strategic plan for the improvement, management and maintenance of the fleet.

“They didn’t set out why these new vehicles were needed in advance of the tender, the number of vehicles or the type and functionality required.

“The views and advice of the expected users, the cliff rescue teams, also wasn’t sought, which was vital given the unique nature and use of these vehicles for cliff rescues.

“This isn’t the first time governance questions have been raised about the Irish Coast Guard.

“An unofficial survey from earlier this year identified a number of issues, including low morale among members and a lack of confidence in management, while some ICG volunteers have approached me personally with their concerns too.

“There are serious issues raised in this C&AG report and I will be writing to the Chairs of the Transport Committee and the Public Accounts Committee to ask to have these examined in further detail.”

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