The tender procedure for a national conference centre is being organised by Bord Fáilte under the aegis of the independent management board for product development, and is being conducted in full compliance with the EU Council Directive 93/37/EEC, concerning the co-ordination of procedures for the award of public works contracts.
The full tender procedure notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 13 September 1997, and in the Irish media on 16 September. It invited applicants to submit requests to participate in the tender procedure by Monday, 20 October. Bord Fáilte received 12 responses within this deadline set for receipt of applications to tender. On 31 October 1997, "Invitation to Tender" documentation was dispatched by Bord Fáilte to seven qualified applicants, six of whom confirmed their intentions to submit full tenders before the deadline set, 14 November, for so doing. The closing deadline for receipt of tenders was at 5 p.m. on Monday, 2 February. Bord Fáilte received full tender submissions from five consortia, and immediately commenced its assessment of these submissions. The deliberations of Bord Fáilte and the management board are continuing and are expected to be finalised in the very near future.
Under the terms of the tourism operational programme, the agreement of the Government and the EU Commission, on foot of a cost-benefit analysis conducted in accordance with Community law, will then be required in respect of any final selection made. It is hoped that the grant offer can be made to the successful candidate by mid-July, who will then be able to proceed with construction plans.
A specific timescale for commencement or completion of the national conference centre project cannot be determined until the proposal has been formally approved by the Government and the European Commission and matters such as planning permission are in place.