Defence Forces spend over €110,000 outside procurement process in response to Ukrainian refugee crisis
THE DEPARTMENT OF Defence has spent over €110,000 on contracts outside the standard procurement process as part of the emergency response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
The spending was made by the Defence Forces as part of their response to the influx of refugees arriving into Ireland in the immediate aftermath of the war in Ukraine.
In total, €114,224 was spent outside of standard procurement rules according to Defence Minister Simon Coveney, who released the figures in an answer to a parliamentary question by People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.
In response to the question, Coveney said that both the Department and the Defence Forces procure a “wide range of non-capital goods and services”, including items associated with day-to-day operations like food, clothing and utilities.
“Due to the emergency situation in Ukraine and to assist in Ireland’s humanitarian response to the crisis, some below threshold (€25,000 exclusive of VAT) purchases have been made outside standard procurement processes,” said Coveney.
There were a total of 16 contracts awarded outside of standard procurement rules, with contracts being awarded to nine different companies.
The most expensive contract signed by the Department was for a fire detection system, which was procured from Chubb Ireland for €32,461, including VAT.
Wesco, an electrical wholesaler, were contracted seven times to provide electrical consumables to the Gormanstown camp, with the €32,710 being spent by the Department on purchases from the company.
Companies EEC and Pittman were also contracted twice.
All 16 contracts awarded by the Department were granted in March.
Contracts were also signed for the provision of sleeping bags, with €17,499 being spent by the Department to procure these from O’Meara Camping.
Standard Government procurement is carried out through the tender process, with all competitions being accessed online through the e-tenders website.
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However, Government departments and public bodies are occasionally allowed to bypass such procurement rules – including in the case of an emergency.
Previously, the Minister for Integration Roderic O’Gorman said that the Government bypassed traditional procurement methods when organising catering for Ukrainian refugees.
The confirmation was in response to Boyd Barrett, who told the Dáil that he was informed that Aramark, an American corporation, had been awarded a contract to provide catering services to refugee hubs for people arriving into Ireland.
“We’re dealing with a crisis, we’re dealing with a crisis that the country has never had to experience before, and we’re dealing with it in a way that ensures that every Ukrainian who comes to this country who seeks shelter who seeks security can be given it and that has meant we haven’t been able to use the traditional procurement processes,” O’Gorman said.
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