Farm Ireland

Monday 20 November 2017

Europe raises questions over cattle tag tendering process

Declan O’Brien and Caitriona Murphy

The Department of Agriculture's public tendering process for Ireland's multi-million euro cattle tagging contract is to be challenged in the Court of Justice of the European Union next week.

The European Commission is to challenge Ireland's interpretation of legislation surrounding the services contract in an oral hearing scheduled for Thursday, May 19.

The cattle tagging contract is worth an estimated €3m a year to the successful company.

Department officials refused to disclose which year's contract was being challenged in Europe but confirmed that the contract was awarded to Mullinahone Co-op.

There is absolutely no suggestion, however, that Mullinahone Co-op should not have been awarded the contract.

The Commission alleges that the tender process employed by the Department was effectively a "selection process".


It claimed the award criteria used by the Department in judging applications failed to take sufficient account of the tendering companies' ability "to perform the contract in question".

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"Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 53 of Directive 2004/18/EC(1) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts," Commission documents stated.

"The Commission submits that the award criteria applied by the Department of Agriculture and Food included criteria reserved for the selection stage, namely criteria relating to tenderers' ability to perform the contract in question and that, consequently, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 53 of Directive 2004/18/EC," the Commission submission added.

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