Tuesday 24 October 2017

Construction company takes legal over Mountjoy Prison contract

Glenbeigh Construction Limited has taken legal action over the awarding of a refurbishment contract for Mountjoy Prison.
Glenbeigh Construction Limited has taken legal action over the awarding of a refurbishment contract for Mountjoy Prison.

A building company has brought a legal challenge over the process leading to the awarding of a €4m public contract for refurbishment of a wing of Mountjoy Prison.

Glenbeigh Construction Limited, with registered offices at Damastown Industrial Park, Dublin, has brought judicial review proceedings against the Minister for Justice arising from the conduct of the contract tender process.

An invitation to tender for the contract was issued last August and the contract was awarded last January to John Sisk & Son Ltd. 

Glenbeigh was among a number of companies that tendered unsuccessfully for the contract.

The contract is for refurbishment of the prison's D Wing, including full refurbishment of all cells and the installation of in-cell sanitation.

In its action, GCL wants the decision awarding the contract to the Sisk company set aside and an order requiring that the tender procedure be repeated.

Among a series of claims, it alleges failure to comply with the requirements of public procurement law, particularly the EC Public Contracts Directive of 2004.

It is also alleged the Minister has failed to provide adequate reasons for the contract award decision, that the tender process lacks transparency and that Glenbeigh's tender was not properly evaluated.

Yesterday, Eileen Barrington SC, for the Minister, asked Mr Justice Peter Kelly to fast-track the hearing of the case in the Commercial Court.

In court documents, it was stated the Irish Prison Service is anxious to conclude the contract and to see the refurbishment works proceed as soon as possible.

Tony O'Connor SC, for GCL, said he was neither consenting nor objecting to the application for a speedy hearing. His side had sought documents from the Minister concerning the matter but had not received a substantive response to its request, counsel added.

Ms Barrington said a "large swathe" of documents was looked for and the Glenbeigh side had been provided with documents relating to the core issue raised in the case, whether Sisk had included a plant room -to serve hot water and heating services - in its tender.

Mr Justice Kelly agreed to fast-track the case, made directions for exchange of legal documents between the parties, and returned the matter to May.

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