Longford firms frozen out of procurement process

Longford firms frozen out of procurement process

Fears are growing that local companies are being squeezed out of tendering for contracts due to frailties with public procurement laws.


 Cllr Seamus Butler issued the appeal to Local Government Minister Simon Coveney to afford local authorities like Longford greater flexibility to procure goods and services locally.

He said his experience in business over the years and involvmeent with ISME and the  Small Business Taskforce had taught him that SMEs were being priced out of the marketplace.

“I am saying all of this because I don't think we (small and medium sized businesses) are getting a fair crack of the whip,” he told a recent county council meeting.

 The former Chamber of Commerce president likened the situation to the drawn out nature that surrounds Longford Co Council's  housing voids programme.

  “We have one of the most centralised governments in Europe and that is a prime example,” he said.

“We  have a fund to do up our voids and to bring them up to scratch but every stage of that has to go back to the Department for approval.”

 Cllr Butler said he hoped the debate would, at best “get a conversation going” about potentially reforming Ireland's present day procurement laws.

He was supported by fellow Fianna Fáil Cllr Martin Mulleady.

As a director of a local construction firm himself, he too told of the difficulties many firms face in trying to secure public contracts.

“The procurement laws in this country are absolutely ridiculous,” he snapped.

“It's putting people out of business and it is not encouraging people to enter business. It's just not good enough.”

Cllr Gerry Warnock agreed.

He said the stringent nature of procurement legislation was indicative of  Ireland's modern day    political system.

 “This just highlights how weak local government is,” he said.

“It's also an example of how bureacracy and centralisation is having a negative effect on ratepayers in different areas across the country.”

Cllr Warnock said a “massive sea change” was needed in order to allow local authorities a greater input into how their counties are run and managed on a daily basis.