CASHEL Town Council should hire local small businesses to complete Council work instead of granting the contracts to strangers, according to Sinn Féin Cllr Martin Browne.
Cllr Browne complained to the Council at this month’s meeting that repair work on Council houses should go to smaller Cashel contractors, who would be glad of the work, than larger operaters like Munster Joinery. The Council “doesn’t even buy a roll in a shop”, but instead does all its purchasing, even stationery, from a central source, as mandated by government. Local shops in Cashel don’t benefit from Town Council contracts, said Cllr Browne. “I know we all have to be conscious of money. But at least the local businesses spend money in the local shops. It would help if the Town Council spent that money in Cashel. Did anybody local come near that quote?”
Town Engineer Willie Corby said there were strict procurement rules in place, which means the Council has to go for the lowest bid. “The other tenders were unfortunately higher. That’s the system. Sometimes a local company wins it.” Munster Joinery may sub-contract a lot of the smaller jobs to Cashel companies, added Mr Corby. There is a national policy in place whereby local authorities must seek savings. “It is our policy to support the local economy every way we can. Unfortunately, we cannot do it this time,” said Mr Corby.
Cllr Joe Moloney said it was an ongoing issue. The difference between the winning quote, and some Cashel-based quotes was “small money.”
Town Manager Séan Keating said flexibility regarding procurement is “constantly tightening up.” Even office supplies have to be sourced from a national body. “Unfortunately, the attitude is that whatever costs can be saved with larger procurement, then Council have to do it.”
“I think it’s an absolute disgrace that we cannot keep business local. I appreciate that the officials’ hands are tied,” said Cllr Browne (SF).