Written Answers. - Ministerial Transport.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

81 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if any of the tenders submitted for the provision of new aircraft for the ministerial air transport service included provisions for offsets or job creation initiatives; if such proposals will be taken into consideration when awarding the tenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18765/03]

The tender competitions for the supply of the aircraft for executive transport are being carried out under EU contracts procedures. The evaluation of the tenders is ongoing. The Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to discuss the contents of any particular tender at this stage. The award of contract criteria set out in the tender documentation states that the contracts will be awarded on the basis of the most economically advantageous tenders in both competitions applying the following award criteria listed in order of priority: (1) tender prices; (2) functional characteristics for mission accomplishment; (3) maintenance, technical support and after sales service; (4) life cycle costs; (5) warranties offered; and (6) training packages offered.

It is not permissible to use offset as an award criteria for supply contracts covered under the EU directives on public procurement. Therefore, it is not the practice of the Department of Defence to consider offset, countertrade or job creation issues as an award criteria or subsequently in the evaluation and assessment of tenders. In any event, it would not be possible to measure objectively the value of such offers in the assessment of tenders. The long-term economic effects of such offers would not be quantifiable for a variety of reasons. From the point of view of maintaining a truly competitive process, any consideration of offset, countertrade or job creation issues should only come into play after a decision to enter into contract negotiations with the chosen tenderer. Once a decision on the merits has been made on a particular contract it is the practice in my Department to seek offset in Ireland in the case of major contracts. It is, of course, made clear to the contractor that there is no legal or contractual obligation to provide such offset.

Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 74.