Council spent €2.9 million on plant hire

Payments shared by 88 contracting firms

Simon Brouder

Kerry County Council paid out close to €3 million for plant hire and haulage services last year according to new figures that have been released by the county.

At Monday's monthly meeting of the council - on foot of a motion by Independent Councillor Brendan Cronin - management provided a complete breakdown of all 2017 payments to plant hire and haulage and contractors.

The figures reveal that last year a total of €2,928,653 was divided between 88 separate contractors, with the sums paid out varying from less than €2,000 to over €275,000.

Nine contractors received over €100,000 while payments of less than €2,000 were made to individuals and companies in 24 cases.

The biggest beneficiary was Moyvane based Clancy Plant Hire who were paid €275,394 for their services to the council last year.

The next biggest recipient was Healy-Rae Plant hire which earned €186,357 from Kerry County Council contracts.

The Kilgarvan based company - which was founded in 1999 and has net assets of around €715,000 according to corporate records - lists independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae and his son Kerry County Councillor Johnny Healy-Rae as directors.

Deputy Healy-Rae's wife Eileen is also named as a director, holding a minority share in the company.

Last year it was reported that since 1999 Healy-Rae Plant Hire has secured contracts worth in excess of €7 million from Kerry County Council, primarily to provide machinery for road work projects.

The list of last year's five biggest beneficiaries is rounded out by Frank O'Connor of Kilkerry , Ballymacelligott who was paid €152,045; Tralee based Dillons Waste Disposal who received €125,410 and Duagh based O'Connors Hardware and Farm Supplies who were paid €117,355.

Management at Kerry County Council said that all plant hire, machinery and haulage contracts are procured using the national Dynamic Purchasing System for Local Authorities.

This national system was developed by the Local Government Operational Procurement Centre, which is based in Killarney and managed by Kerry County Council.

"Essentially, this procurement arrangement is a wholly electronic process which takes the form of a dynamic mechanism from which local authorities can look to award future contracts to Applicants admitted to the DPS by way of a competitive process," said council management in response to Cllr Cronin's motion.

"In each Local Authority the available work is tendered among the DPS applicants. This competitive process is conducted by means of a mini-competition via," said the council.

"The overall effectiveness of our works programme and the achievement of best return on the sizeable level of expenditure incurred, require that we carefully assess the plant hire on an ongoing basis," said management.

"Ongoing achievement of cost effectiveness and value for money and focus on achieving efficiencies in this expenditure area, as in all other activities, remains critically important to the Council," management at KCC said.