A tender competition for the long-term maintenance contract for the GASU EC135 was advertised in the EU Journal on 20 November 2002. Five valid tenders were received in response to the advertisement and issue of tender documentation. The basis for the award of contract, as stated in the tender documentation, was the most economically advantageous tender. The award criteria were as follows; technical competency, extent to which option meets service requirements, capacity to meet implementation schedule, cost and value for money.
A joint assessment board comprising a representative from each of the Department of Defence, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Air Corps, and the Garda Síochána was established to examine each of the tenders in accordance with the agreed marking scheme. The board met on a number of occasions to review the tenders, receive presentations and consider the merits of the total package being offered by each of the tenderers. The board concluded that there were two viable tenders from among those submitted. However, it was unable to reach a consensus in relation to the winning tender. The matter was referred to the senior officials in each of the Departments, who had convened the joint assessment board. The officials reviewed each of the two tenders independently and, on the basis of the criteria, awarded the tender, subject to contract, to McAlpines Helicopters.
The contract in respect of the EC135 maintenance was signed on 23 December 2003. I am satisfied that the award of the contract is fully in accordance with the procedures set down in the EU directives on public procurement which are the relevant procedures for this type of contract.