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Abnormally Low Tender bid accepted for National Children’s Hospital was "a recipe for disaster and procurement failure" – Jonathan O’Brien TD

6 February, 2019 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin’s deputy spokesperson for Public Expenditure & Reform, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has said that serious questions must be asked about the selection of BAM as the main contractor to build the National Children’s Hospital.

Speaking today, the Cork North-Central TD said:

“Serious questions must be asked about the procurement practices at the heart of government over the awarding of tenders for the National Children’s Hospital.

“We now know that the awarding of the contract for construction of the hospital was weighted 75% in favour of lowest price, flying in the face of best practice and automatically squeezing out smaller Irish firms.

“We also now know that the tender bid made by BAM was an abnormally low tender bid, €130 million lower than the nearest competitor.

“Abnormally low tenders, as outlined in international and EU procurement guidelines, raise immediate questions over the ability of the contractor to deliver on price and on time to a high quality.

“In fact, abnormally low tenders can be disqualified under EU procurement law, and frequently are across Europe, and indeed in the North of Ireland.

“Yet this government turned a blind eye and accepted the abnormally lowest bidder despite best practice, and despite the warnings that this should have raised.

“This raises serious questions over the Chief Procurement Officer who was a member of the Development Board and Procurement Subcommittee.

“The question arises as to why the Department of Health flouted best practice and awarded the contract to BAM.

“The fact that the tender bid was abnormally low was a clear warning to future overruns and a manipulation of the public purse to gain higher fees.

“If no questions were asked by the development board over the abnormally low tender made by BAM, the competency of the development board, procurement officials and responsible ministers must be questioned.

“Billions of euros in taxpayers’ money are being used on capital projects in the coming years, with an incompetent government overseeing the process. That is not acceptable.

“This procurement failure lies fully and squarely with the Department of Health. The taxpayer has been fleeced and responsibility must be assumed for the failure.”

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