“Government departments approve 348 contracts outside procurement guidelines,” Mattie McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Minister of State at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with Special Responsibility for Public Procurement, Patrick O’Donovan, to initiate a government wide investigation into how at least 348 contracts worth approximately €100 million were awarded outside of government procurement guidelines. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he raised the matter with the Taoiseach during Leaders Questions in the Dáil:
“This information was only released to me after I submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions to each government department.
The replies were simply astonishing in that they point to a widescale practice within almost all departments of awarding contracts, in some cases to the value of tens of millions of euros, without any competitive tendering.
If your local parish hall or school was applying for a grant, they would normally have to provide evidence of two or three tenders in order to assure the government grant provider that value for money was being achieved.
When it comes to government departments however, no such constraints seem to exist. On paper there is a rigorous commitment and promotion of better public procurement practices to deliver fair and transparent competitions to enterprises like SME’s; but in practice this is not what is happening.
Through the replies I have received it was shown that the department of Children and Youth Affairs alone was found to have issued 60 non-compliant contracts totalling €5.4 million in 2018 and a further 69 non-compliant contracts in 2017.
The Department of Justice entered into contracts with a value of more than €13.1million were on 74 occasions; all outside the government’s own procurement guidelines.
All of this only undermines the fact that this government is reckless and irresponsible with the hard earned taxes of ordinary people.
We need a root and branch reform to ensure that the interests of workers and taxpayers are meaningfully