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McDonald welcomes Government agreement to support Sinn Féin Social Clauses Bill

17 October, 2014 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Deputy President Mary Lou McDonald this morning welcomed Government support for a Sinn Féin Bill on the mandatory inclusion of social clauses in public contracts. The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform outlined how the Bill would protect the vulnerable and ensure value for money.

Deputy McDonald stated: 

“We welcome Government support this morning for our Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill. The Bill has attracted support from all sides of the house as well a welcome consensus on its core objectives.

“This Bill outlines how public purchasers and suppliers will be legally required to protect the vulnerable and promote other social goals and community benefits. This can be done by including social clauses in public contracts. Social clauses are a tool for getting more value out of each public euro spent.

“The Sinn Féin Bill legislates for the mandatory inclusion of social clauses in all public procurement contracts worth over one million euro.The state spends approximately 9 billion euro each year on goods and services.

“While social clauses have been included in a very small number of public contracts, they are not currently part of our legislation. 

“New EU rules mean that the Government is now legally obliged to legislate on the issue of social clauses. This will enable public authorities to put more emphasis on social considerations while still taking account of price considerations

“Our Bill offers a simple, strong start that this EU legislation could be built upon and we welcome that the Government today expressed support for our legislation.

“Sinn Féin have already shown that progress is also possible at local authority level with our proposed legislation. In March 2014, the Sinn Féin Dublin City Council Group succeeded in passing a motion on including social procurement clauses in council contracts based on this Bill.

“It is worth noting that Sinn Féin has successfully pursued the inclusion of social clauses in public contracts in the north. There is no reason why such an approach cannot be rolled out on an all-island basis.

“It is not just a matter of promising what Sinn Féin would do if we were in Government.  We have demonstrated that where we have the power, Sinn Féin has delivered this.”

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