Saturday 17 March 2018

'Serious errors' in public procurement process for €368m Luas cross-city works, court told

A Luas travels across O’Connell Street yesterday
A Luas travels across O’Connell Street yesterday

Tim Healy

A JOINT venture which came second in the bidding for Dublin's €368m cross-city Luas line has claimed in the High Court there were serious errors and a breach of rules relating to public procurement in the competition.

Portuguese construction company, Somague Engenharia SA, and Mayo-based civil engineers, Wills Brothers Ltd, who established a joint venture to bid for the project, came second in the tendering process for the 5.6km of track linking the existing Green and Red Luas lines and extending to Cabra.

The winners were another joint venture, Sisk Steconfer, comprising Dublin-based construction company, John Sisk & Son and Steconfer, a Portuguese construction company specialising in railway works.  Work is already underway on the project which is due for completion in October 2017.

Somague/Wills have accepted their court case is primarily one for damages and no application has been made that the contract be suspended pending the determination of their proceedings.

It is against Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)  which was formed by the merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency, under 2015 legislation.

They claim errors and breach of the procurement rules on the part of TII had the effect that they lost the contract.

TII fully contests the claims.

Ms Justice Marie Baker, who is hearing the case, already ruled Somague/Wills was entitled to cross-examine Marcello Corsi, who was intrinsically involved in the evaluation process, an application which was also contested by TII.

It is claimed the evaluators applied undisclosed or impermissible criteria and misapplied the stated criteria. It is also claimed the evaluators made a manifest error in assessing the tie-in with the Red Line and had considered matters which were not relevant at evaluation stage.

The case continues.

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