State bodies 'ignoring order' to pay bills quickly
STATE agencies, particularly the Health Service Executive (HSE), are ignoring instructions from the Government to pay all invoices within 15 days, business lobby group ISME said in a report to be published today.
The Department of Enterprise has ordered government departments to pay bills within 15 days.
"Not alone are the HSE thumbing their noses at the minister but they have refused to publish their payments figures, as required by the minister," said ISME chief executive Mark Fielding. The HSE did not reply to questions about the report.
ISME said it had examples of hospitals demanding longer payment dates, "blatantly abusing their dominant position".
Government agencies and accountancy-driven big businesses were terrorising smaller suppliers with their 'take-it-or -leave-it' demands, ISME added.
Based on a survey of 626 companies, ISME concluded that the actual average payment period in Ireland for SMEs was 71 days. It added that 40pc of companies were experiencing delays of three months or more. Businesses in Connaught and Ulster are forced to wait longest while Dublin businesses have the shortest waiting times.