Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Questions (279, 280, 281, 282)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

282 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the identity and addresses of the successful contractors supplying services to the State in the seven State owned asylum seeker centres following the recent competition; the length, cost and duration of each contract; the date on which the contracts are up for renewal; the number of small to medium sized companies and if they are Irish or European who were successful in obtaining a contract for the supply of services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35930/12]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

283 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 146 of 16 May 2012, if he will clarify the issue (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35931/12]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

284 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of new permanent jobs that have been created through the awarding of contracts following the recent competition in the State-owned Reception Integration Agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35932/12]

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Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

285 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the incentives that are given to small indigenous businesses to tender for contracts to provide management and services in State-owned Reception Integration Agency centres; if he will direct, encourage and advise his officials in the procurement area of RIA to facilitate and assist small indigenous Irish or European companies, in competing against large non-EU American corporate subsidiaries, which have recourse to unlimited expertise and financial backing from the parent company; if he will give an assurance that taxpayer moneys earned from Government contracts, remain in the Irish economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35933/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 to 285, inclusive, together.

These questions relate to a recent tender competition in respect of the management of seven State owned asylum accommodation centres. The competition was carried out by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA), a functional unit of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department, which is charged with responsibility for accommodation of asylum seekers while their application for protection in the State is being processed. Currently, RIA accommodates over 5,000 asylum seekers in 37 centres throughout the State. All of these centres are managed by private companies under contract to RIA but in the case of seven of those centres, the subject of these questions, the land and buildings are owned by the State.

Contracts were awarded in June 2012 following an EU wide tender process in respect of the seven centres. The Request for Tender (RFT) for the provision of management, catering and other services at these centres was published by RIA in late 2011. The tender was split into 5 lots and the contracts were awarded as follows:

Lot

Description of Lot

Awarded to:

1

Atlas House, Tralee& Johnson Marina, Tralee

OFM Ltd,Laccamore,Abbeydorney,Tralee,Co. Kerry

2

Atlas House, Killarney& Park Lodge, Killarney

OFM Ltd,Laccamore,Abbeydorney,Tralee,Co. Kerry

3

Kinsale Road Accommodation CentreCork

Campbell Catering Ltd t/a Aramark Ireland,Northern Cross Road,Malahide Road,Dublin 17

4

Knockalisheen Accommodation CentreMeelickCo Clare

Campbell Catering Ltd t/a Aramark Ireland,Northern Cross Road,Malahide Road,Dublin 17

5

Athlone Accommodation CentreLissywoollen,Athlone

Campbell Catering Ltd t/a Aramark Ireland,Northern Cross Road,Malahide Road,Dublin 17

As specified in the RFT, the contracts were awarded for a period of 3 years. All contracts came into force on 15 June 2012 and are scheduled to conclude on 11 June 2015. If all contracts run for the entire contracted period, the overall value will be approximately €18 million, plus VAT.

OFM Ltd falls into the category of a ‘small or medium sized' (SME) company. In relation to the clarification sought in the ‘details supplied' with Question No. 35931/12, I am advised by RIA that Campbell Catering Limited is owned by ARAMARK Ireland Holdings Limited (AIHL). AIHL is the Irish holding company in the international ARAMARK group. ARAMARK Corporation is the holding company of the group and the ultimate holding company of Campbell Catering Limited. Campbell Catering Limited is the only company in the ARAMARK group which provides services directly to the RIA to operate State owned centres. ARAMARK Ireland is headquartered in Dublin, with regional offices in Belfast, Limerick and Cork. The company has had a presence in Ireland since 2005 when ARAMARK first invested in Campbell Catering Limited, a well known Irish food service company which was founded in 1967. ARAMARK reports that it has invested over €60 million in its operations in Ireland since 2009 and employs over 4,000 people directly nationwide.

Rules governing EU tender competitions are designed to create an integrated market across member states and the companies listed in the table above were legitimately entitled to participate in that tender competition. Plainly, given that the services provided are in the nature of accommodation, food, heat, light etc. it is evident that much of the expenditure by the winning contractors is within the State. How profits are to be used by any company arising from Government contracts, whether indigenous or not or whether or not they arise from services to asylum seekers or any other kind of service, is a matter for the company itself consistent with the financial laws of this State.

The Deputy should note that RIA is not an employer of any staff member working in any asylum seeker accommodation centre, even State-owned centres. In relation to those companies who won the contracts, as shown in the table above, a condition of the RFT was that they complied with the TUPE provisions of Council Directive 2001/23/EC of 12 March 2001 which deals with the safeguarding of employees' rights in the event of transfers of undertakings etc. This means that those employees covered by the TUPE regulations remain employed in the centres concerned although, plainly, in centres which have a new management company, management personnel will change. To RIA's knowledge, no new net permanent jobs were created through the awarding of contracts following this competition.

The Department of Finance circular 10/10, "Facilitating SME Participation in Public Procurement", which is available on www.etenders.gov.ie, sets out positive measures that contracting authorities are required to take to promote SME involvement in a manner that is consistent with the principles and rules of the existing public procurement regulatory regime. I am advised that RIA took steps to ensure that SMEs were not discouraged from competing in the competition. Indeed, the majority of the tenderers responding to this RFT could be classed as SME’s. RIA is satisfied that this competitive processes was carried out in a manner that facilitated increased participation by SME’s and was legal, transparent, and secured optimal value for money for the taxpayer.