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€11m fit-out for new City Hall in Galway will go to tender


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

€11m fit-out for new City Hall in Galway will go to tender €11m fit-out for new City Hall in Galway will go to tender

From the Galway City Tribune – A competitive process will be used to employ building contractors to carry out an €11m fit-out of the new City Hall at Crown Square, it has been confirmed.

The purchase of the offices in Mervue by Galway City Council last year did not go through a public procurement process.

And the local authority did not invite public expressions of interest from property owners or landowners who would be interested in supplying a new Council headquarters.

But a spokesperson has confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that the contract to fit out the new building will go through a public procurement process, as is the legal requirement.

Tenders will be invited later this year.

“We have appointed a project management consultant and formed an internal working group, who are leading the design of the internal fit-out and co-ordination of the project – including consultation with staff, councillors and unions,” she said.

“Once the design has been agreed and signed off, the fit-out works will be tendered via a public procurement process. From then timelines will be agreed for the fit out, which will be dependent on the specifications of the design and supply chains for materials,” the Council statement added.

According to European Union law, the purchase of a building by public agencies is not legally required to go through a public procurement process, but works such as fitting out are.

There is a specific exclusion to Article 10 of the relevant EU Directive of the European Parliament and the Council of 26, on public procurement.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

It states: “This Directive shall not apply to public service contracts for: (a) the acquisition or rental, by whatever financial means, of land, existing buildings or other immovable property or concerning rights thereon”.

At the July 2022 City Council meeting, where councillors agreed to borrow €45.5m to buy the Crown Square building shell, the then Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath confirmed it had not been put out to tender.

He was replying to Councillor John Connolly (FF) who said he was a member of the HSE West Regional Forum, which had invited public expressions of interest for a new hospital site for Galway, despite already owning a large tract of land at Merlin Park.

Cllr Connolly wondered why the Council did not have to go through a similar procurement and tendering process.

“If it is the councillors’ wish to go out to procurement, I’ll do it, but it could delay it [the move to Mervue],” he said last July.

Mr McGrath added: “That’s not a threat, that’s the reality.”

Director of Services, Patrick Greene, when pressed about the procurement issue, said that Acon consultancy had given an independent assessment of the options.

Contractors will compete for the €11m fit-out job when it goes to tender.

Meanwhile, trade union sources at City Hall have confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that they have yet to be consulted about the proposed move which was due to happen by January 2024.

“We’ve been told nothing. We’re reading about it in the paper,” said one trade union source.

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