Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Roscommon Schools.

23.

asked the Minister for Education why school buildings made and assembled in the area were not sanctioned for use by Roscommon vocational committee even though they were cheaper than those available from the combined purchasing list.

24.

asked the Minister for Education if he has received proposals from Castlerea and Roscommon vocational schools for the purchase of pre-fabricated classrooms from a firm (name supplied); if so, if he proposes to sanction these proposals; and, if not, if he will indicate from what source he proposes to sanction the purchase of these classrooms.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 23 and 24 together. My Department invited tenders by public advertisement for the supply of mobile prefabricated classrooms for the 1971-72 school-year. The contractor referred to by the Deputies did not submit a tender and it would not be open to my Department accordingly to award any part of the contract to him. In any event, on the information available to me, the accommodation offered did not meet the Department's requirements.

Would the Minister reconsider his decision because, if the Roscommon vocational education committee were allowed to purchase these classrooms locally, the Roscommon County Council would save at least £500? Will he reconsider his decision and accept the local tender.

I am afraid I cannot do that.

Why not?

We have our system in operation and if I were to agree to break that system in one instance there would be demands from all over the country for the same thing.

But the Roscommon County Council would save £500. If we are serious about doing something for the West of Ireland——

The contractors should have tendered.

Is it not an accepted fact, in respect of the combined purchasing list with which I am quite familiar, that if you can purchase an item locally at a cheaper rate you can always do so? That has been the practice obtaining here for years and years in every Department.

I am not aware that it is the practice. It is not the practice in relation to these. If I were to do something like that it would not be long until I had a few questions from the other side of the House.

What is the Minister's objection to doing this?

In general terms we get a better bargain under a bulk purchase scheme. Would the Deputy tell me what firms would be likely to tender at a lower price for bulk amounts if they thought that somebody else could come in afterwards and get the contract? The Deputy wants to argue on both sides. I have not got the slightest doubt that there would be a barrage of questions from Opposition Deputies if I were to decide to change from this bulk buying system.

In fairness, Deputy Dr. Gibbons is not on the other benches. He is on your own.

He is not on any bench at the moment.

He is on a bench as often as anybody else.

Question No. 25.

I have bought, time out of number, commodities on the combined purchasing list locally at the same price as quoted on the combined purchasing list and it has never been questioned provided they were the same price or lower.

Question No. 25.

I do not propose to change this.

Is the Minister aware that the Department of Local Government sanctioned the purchase of prefabricated dwellings for old people that were not on the list?

That may be but I have pointed out what the result would be.

(Interruptions.)

Question No. 25. We cannot spend all evening on one question.

Is the Minister aware that the price is not the only consideration in regard to buying from the combined purchasing list, that the article itself is a matter to be considered? He knows in his heart and soul that even in this House the chairs in the restaurant are falling to pieces every day because they were bought in bulk.

I have called Question No. 25.

The item concerned did not meet my Department's requirements.