Home Business Templemore Garda College suppliers stand in protest.

Templemore Garda College suppliers stand in protest.

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Businesses and traders who have supplied goods and services to Templemore Garda college for up to 40 years are been forced out by the national procurement framework. Local businesses are facing job cuts and major losses as the government enforce these crazy rules on the Garda College.

This present Government are constantly talking about rural Ireland, rural regeneration and creation of jobs outside the Dublin area, then they enforce procurement rules that effectively will take away jobs from small rural towns that have been secure for the past 40 years. I rarely joined a protest during my 20 years as a local representative but I felt obliged to support this protest this morning. The procurement process is flawed and people around the country need to stand up and shout loudly at their Dáil representatives seeking change.

Firstly in Templemore the local suppliers delivered fresh produce on a daily basis to the College; if more was needed it could be delivered in minutes and similarly if too much was ordered it could be returned promptly with minimum waste. As a result the College required little storage space. The new procurement process is determined mainly by price so the cheapest goods get ordered. The flaws in this system are many. The quality and freshness of local produce is not taken into account, the prompt delivery of goods with a low carbon footprint is not accessed, (as was the case during the heavy snow when outside suppliers didn’t even attempt to deliver goods), the College had to buy extra refrigerators and develop new storage space as larger quantities are ordered under the procurement process. These extra costs and the future maintenance of these storage facilities were not considered when awarding contracts. Lastly and in my view most importantly is the whole area of social responsibility.

Most companies around the world today are concerned about corporate social responsibility (CSR). The companies like to contribute positively in the communities where their businessess are located. A good example was The Lisheen Mine where they tried at all times to source goods and services locally in order to support the local economy. The present Government could do with developing some legislation around Government social responsibility.

It’s ludicrous that a small trading town like Templemore raises various taxes for the Government which then attacks the fragile economy with a flawed procurement process. Instead the Government should develop a procurement system that gives extra weighting to small rural businesses that are a critical part of the sustainability of rural Ireland. Instead of regenerating rural Ireland this Government procurement policy is the genocide of rural businesses. Rural Ireland has a lot to offer but the Government need to work on it before it’s too late.