Government edict prevents councils shopping locally

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

All local authorities now had to purchase their office equipment and paper from a centralised national company instead of local shops, it was stated at the monthly meeting of Cashel Town Council.

They had told the government that these items had been purchased locally from businesses that paid rates to the Council but the government’s attitude was that if savings could be made by purchasing nationally then that was the way to go, said Council Manager Sean Keating.

They had flexibility with such purchases in the past but this policy became obligatory a month ago.

He was responding to comments made by Cllr. Martin Browne (Sinn Fein), who described it as “an absolute disgrace” that the Council couldn’t decide to keep business locally.

“Businesses out there are struggling big time”, he said.

Cllr. Browne noted that Munster Joinery had been awarded the contract for the replacement of windows and doors in eight Council houses.

“These guys come in and they don’t even buy a roll in a shop. Every penny leaves the town and not a cent is ever spent here”.

He said that if a local firm got the contract the money would be spent in the town. He knew one local firm who had submitted a tender for the job but there was E4,000 in the difference.

It was absolutely crazy and time that they put pressure on the government.

The other tender was lower and unfortunately that was the system, said Town Engineer Willie Corby. The Council did as much business as possible without having to go to tender and tried to use local companies as much as possible.

When items for the Council building were needed they were bought locally and they supported the local economy in whatever way possible.

Cllr. Joe Moloney appreciated the Council’s position in that it was tied to accepting the lowest tender, and he was delighted to hear that they purchased items locally.

Cllr. Eddie Bennett noted that a company from Mayo had the contract for a sports complex being built not too far away, even though a local company had submitted a tender.

Manager Sean Keating suggested that the members might make the case further and stress that they shouldn’t only have to look at the cheapest option when awarding tenders.