As the Deputy will be aware, the new tender procedure for a national conference centre is being organised by Bord Fáilte under the aegis of the independent Management Board for Product Development. The tender procedure was determined after consultation with the relevant directorates in the European Commission and is being conducted in full compliance with EU Council Directive 93/37/EEC concerning the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contract.
The full tender procedure notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 13 September 1997. The notice was also published in the daily newspapers on 16 September. It invited applicants to submit requests to participate in the tender procedure by 5 p.m. on Monday, 20 October. Bord Fáilte received 12 responses within the deadline set for the receipt of applications. On 31 October invitation to tender documentation was dispatched by Bord Fáilte to seven qualified applicants, six of whom confirmed their intention to submit full tenders before the deadline set, 14 November. These six applicants who will be responsible for providing a site for the proposed development have three months to submit their tenders, that is, by the end of January next following which the tenders will be assessed. The management board has estimated that it will be late March before it has completed its deliberations.
Under the terms of the Operational Programme for Tourism the agreement of the Government and the European Commission, on foot of a cost-benefit analysis conducted in accordance with Union law, will be required in respect of the final selection made.