Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien says that a new Bill put forward by his party will reform the manner in which State tenders are awarded.
The ‘Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill 2017’ was debated in the Dáil yesterday evening. The Bill aims to increase competition in the public procurement tending process by enhancing the ability for Small and Medium sized businesses to compete for public tenders.
“SMEs play a vital role in our local economy and Fingal is renowned for its horticulture and agri-business sector in particular," explained the Deputy.
"The North County’s strong indigenous enterprise base acts as the engine of economic growth and employ thousands of people right across Fingal. However, in recent years many local SMEs have found it more difficult to effectively compete for State tenders due to significant administrative and legal barriers. “The Bill we have brought forward will tackle this problem by introducing a specific social value clause in our procurement guidelines. This clause will require any State body, local authority or Department issuing a tender to take into account the impact of awarding a contract on the local and national economy. Other European countries such as Denmark, France, Austria and Belgium have already introduced such a social value clause and it’s now time for Ireland to follow suit," he added. “The State currently spends approximately €12 Billion each year on procuring goods, services and works. Ireland ranks high in comparison to other European countries regarding the proportion of public goods and services procured outside of the State. “Irish companies deserve an opportunity to access State tenders, but all too often the large multinational companies undercut their bid. Accordingly, most of the money ends up outside the State.
There are roughly 6,000 active businesses in the County that deserve a level playing pitch when it comes to public tenders. Fingal has many economic advantages including quality infrastructure, a highly skilled population, rich cultural heritage and a diverse enterprise base.
“Indigenous businesses in the North County play an important role nationally but are left continually unrewarded. Introducing a social value clause will address this problem by forcing the State to take into account the knock on benefits of awarding a tender to an Irish SME,” concluded Deputy O'Brien.