Friday 15 November 2019

CIE applied rules for procurement

Madam – A number of years ago, Shane Ross was critical of us for procurement weaknesses, which we had identified and have worked to address. But now, his rant against us is for following EU and Irish procurement laws in the award of a contract for the Operation and Maintenance of on-track machines! While such hypocrisy is hardly surprising from a former Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide cheerleader, who has rebranded himself as a lifelong critic of casino banking, it remains breathtaking to see it in action.

The most recent invitation to tender for the on-track machinery operation and maintenance contract was advertised internationally, as is best practice. Two potential suppliers expressed interest and both met the pre-qualifying criteria. One subsequently withdrew after a member of the consortium bidding pulled out.

In negotiating a contract with the remaining bidder – Balfour Beatty – Iarnrod Eireann verified that savings would be generated over the current contract which covers more limited activity, and over the operation and maintenance of the machinery in-house.

On safety, the contract requires that Balfour Beatty must be independently certified by the Railway Safety Commission – they will not operate on our network without this certification. It is simply untrue to say that Balfour Beatty will "take charge of track maintenance and safety". They will not – they will operate their specific contract, just one element of extensive safety and maintenance activity, under our supervision and to our standards. All safety and track maintenance responsibility remains with Iarnrod Eireann, up to chief executive level.

Mr Ross ignores the substantive matters discussed at the Joint Oireachtas Committee in favour of misrepresentation: savings of €133m in operating costs in four years across the Group; the commitment to continuing cost reduction, required under our new banking facilities, are deemed unworthy of comment.

There was no "patting (ourselves) on the back." There was explicit acknowledgement that the financial crisis for the Group is not yet over, but that working with stakeholders there is a path to recovery.

But then, when it comes to Iarnrod Eireann and CIE, Shane Ross has proven to be utterly disinterested in facts. He prefers instead to shoehorn any situation and any information to fit the fake indignation he had already decided upon, treating his readers with contempt as he blithely misleads them time and time again.

Barry Kenny, Iarnrod Eireann, Connolly Station, Dublin 1

Sunday Independent

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