A party leader inadvertently interrupted a Dáil committee today by telling everyone: ‘We’re boring everyone to death here.”
Catherine Murphy, co-leader of the Social Democrats, accidentally went live when listening to questioning of civil servants from the Office of Government Procurement.
After she suddenly spoke to bemoan the monotony, Independent TD for Wexford, Verona Murphy, who had been carrying out questioning, said: “Catherine, your microphone is live.”
David Moloney, acting Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee, joined by Chief Procurement Officer Paul Quinn.
The OGP is claiming to have achieved €570 million in savings since it was set up in the wake of the financial crisis — but it was unable to provide a breakdown of the figures, promising to provide it later to members.
Mr Quinn said the years 2016 and 2017 had seen the biggest savings as the new central purchasing scheme got into its stride, with tapering economies thereafter.
He explained the benefits of across-the-board ordering by saying it could mean, for instance, a small school on the Aran islands paying the same for units of electricity as a body like the Revenue Commissioners.
He said large-scale procurement not only achieved economies but allowed for secondary Government aims to be pursued, such as Green or social considerations.
There are 8,000 public bodies in Ireland and centralised procurement was an improvement on the past situation where “a lot of bodies were off doing their own thing.”