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Government’s public procurement policy is a disaster costing thousands of Irish jobs - Tóibín

21 October, 2014

Speaking during the Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation investigation on public procurement today Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín stated that government policy in this area is a disaster and is actively anti jobs. 

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said:

“It is shocking that comprehensive data on public procurement is not available and the government has no clear idea on the expenditure and leakage of citizen’s money. The most complete and recent set of data the government has is from 2011. 

“With regards procurement leaked out of the state Ireland is the poster boy for all the wrong reasons. It is estimated that 27% of all public procurement leaves the state. This is far higher than the EU average and it means the loss of just under €2 billion and 20,000 jobs.  

“The system is set up so that 95% of all Irish business is locked out of the €8.5 billion tendering spend. Unreasonable prequalification criteria practically exclude SMES from pitching for business. 

“Cost criteria does not take into consideration the real economic cost of the loss of contracts outside the state. The cost of social welfare to be paid to those made redundant by loss of contracts and the loss of both business and individual taxes. It does not take into account the multiplier effect of local investment.

“Government policy includes no real objectives or Key Performance Indicators for SME participation in the procurement process. There is a complete disconnect between the enterprise development organisations and the Office of Government Procurement. 

“We see regularly contractors buy tenders with below cost bids and then squeeze either subcontractors or workers for this cost. This can be seen at the Kishogue site where workers are on strike for the payment of wages of less than €5 an hour. This is an intolerable situation where government policy is closing the doors of local business and pushing workers into poverty.” 

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