Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Connacht Tribune

Public Accounts Committee questions on NUIG procurement



NUI Galway

Some €5.2 million of expenditure on goods and services at NUI Galway during one financial year did not comply with public procurement guidelines.

The lack of compliance with procurement rules was identified by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), and has been highlighted again at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Fianna Fáil Senator, Marc McSharry, described the lack of compliance as “frightening”.

PAC chairman, Seán Fleming, a Fianna Fáil TD, said it was “extraordinary”.

The €5.2 million for goods and services that was not properly procured related to expenditure in 2016/2017 and was for payments to 81 suppliers.

NUIG President, Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, has written to the PAC, confirming the university has taken some steps to comply with contract procurement rules.

The PAC was told that more than thirteen contracts worth in excess of €100,000 were awarded to companies without proper compliance with procurement rules.

Some of the noncompliance was identified by C&AG testing and the rest was identified by NUIG.

Speaking at the committee, Deputy Fleming said: “G4S Secure Solutions Ireland Ltd was paid €373,302 without competitive procurement. That is extraordinary. Tomkins and Co was paid €241,074, Micromail Limited was paid €208,989, Core Computer Consultants Ltd was paid €180,100 and Swimworld (which operates the Kingfisher Gym) was paid €127,980 without competitive procurement. I know there are not many procurement options for Swimworld’s tender but I cannot understand some of the others.”

Some of the other contracts identified were with Croí West of Ireland Cardiology Foundation (€128,375); Top Oil Galway (€110,314); Enterprise Ireland (€80,337); Winters Property Management (€52,210); Rent An Irish Cottage Management Ltd (€73,668); A&L Goodbody Solicitors (€38,033); Henderson Fire and Safety Ltd (€50,895); Sharp Alarms Ltd (€86,155) and Athru Consultancy Ltd (€30,504), which provides PR and other advice.

Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said the university has taken positive action since the shortcomings were discovered in an audit. He said action has been taken so that 39% of the €5.2 million total, “is now governed by a current procured compliant contract”.

He said “action has been initiated” to put contracts in place for a further 26% of the total, which amounts to around €1.3 million.

“The university is currently reviewing the 35% of this total (€1.7m) to develop a procurement plan. This figure represents over thirty separate suppliers where multiple transactions have taken place across multiple budget holders,” said Prof. Ó hÓgartaigh.

He added that the university had “doubled its investment in procurement training programmes and workshops to assist all budget holders attain and maintain compliance”.

The PAC has agreed to discuss the matter more in-depth at a later date.

Connacht Tribune

Thousands on waiting list for student accommodation in Galway



The student housing crisis is ‘the worst it’s ever been’ – with thousands on waiting lists for rooms; hundreds relying on hostels and friends’ sofas; and countless more facing deferral or dropping out altogether.

The President of NUI Galway’s Students’ Union, Róisín Nic Lochlainn, told the Connacht Tribune that students had been left in a desperate situation, as she called for mass protests to have the issue addressed.

According to Ms Nic Lochlainn, 3,000 students were currently on the waiting lists for NUIG’s on-campus accommodation – Corrib Village and Goldcrest Village – with around 500 in line for any bed that might come up in the Westwood.

“Gort na Coiribe and Dunaras have told us their waiting lists are well into the hundreds too. I’ve only got to contact two of the hostels around town, but Kinlay and Snoozles have almost 200 students between them already – and they’re expecting more.

“The first years haven’t even arrived yet, and on top of all that, you have people in B&Bs and staying on their friends’ sofas,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn.

Pressure on the student rental market had been building for years, she said, but it had gone off the cliff edge this year as a perfect storm was created by increased student numbers and reduced bed availability.

“[Minister for Further and Higher Education] Simon Harris created new places on courses this year and talked about maximum access to education . . . I’m not sure how that works for students who are homeless.

“Because there weren’t many students around last year, some private landlords might have moved on. There was no new purpose-built accommodation delivered, and then Simon Harris creates new places with no new beds,” said Ms Nic Lochlainn of the causes of this year’s problems.”

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Government asked to “do everything” to ensure Intel chooses Oranmore as base



The Taoiseach and Tánaiste will be asked to do “everything in their power” to ensure technology giant Intel selects Oranmore as the location for its new microchip manufacturing plant – which could create 10,000 jobs and transform the West of Ireland economy.

The 540-acre site is owned by the Defence Forces and was selected by IDA Ireland as the preferred site for the company’s new EU ‘chip’ base.


Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany and Intel confirmed to Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the site is under consideration.

Galway East TD Ciarán Cannon said the development would be “transformative” and would be Intel’s largest microchip manufacturing plant in the world.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Athenry Oranmore Municipal District this week, councillors backed a proposal from Cllr Liam Carroll to write to Micheál Martin and Leo Varadkar to urge them to push forward the plan.

“This would be a game-changer, not just for Oranmore but for the whole of Connacht. Imagine 10,000 directly employed at some stage in the future, and the spinoff from that,” he said.

The Oranmore site is reported to have been selected ahead of three other locations in Ireland.

It is on Intel’s short-list for the proposed project, which would involve building eight factory modules on a single campus at the site off the M6 motorway, northeast of Oranmore, the newspaper reported.

The American multinational tech company has whittled down its short-list to 10 finalists; Oranmore is up against sites in Poland, France and Germany.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that if it proceeds, the new Oranmore ‘mega-fab’ would dwarf Intel’s existing site in Leixlip, which employs almost 5,000.

Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon (FG) said: “It would put Galway on the map internationally as a place for high-tech investment and it would serve to rebalance the economic imbalance that exists in our country where all of the weight is on the east coast.

“The IDA has a formula where every one new job created in that industry creates about eight or nine more jobs downstream in terms of the supply chain and services. They’re saying 10,000 jobs on site – twice the population of Athenry – on one campus and then another 80-90,000 jobs off site. The figures are phenomenal, mind boggling,” said Deputy Cannon.

The demand for the facility arose during Covid-19 when the supply chain between Asia and Europe broke down.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Fraudsters ‘spoof’ Galway Garda Station’s phone number



Fraudsters replicated the phone number of Galway Garda Station and used it to call a local woman to demand money.

Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that the number ‘091 538000’ was somehow used by criminals who attempted to extract money – in the form of the online currency Bitcoin – from the victim.   Despite the phone call appearing to come from the Garda station at Mill Street, the woman became suspicious and reported it to Gardaí.

Sgt Walsh said it was the latest in a series of ‘spoofing’ phone calls to have occurred this year.

Spoofing is where fraudsters change the caller ID to ring unsuspecting members of the public to try to extract money or personal information off them.

He said that the number of spoofing incidents reported to Galway Gardaí has more than doubled in the past year.

“It is top of my agenda,” he said.

He pointed out that criminals can obtain a ‘ready to go’ phone and SIM card, relatively cheaply, and it was “very difficult” for Gardaí to trace the caller.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and more details on fraud figures in Galway, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads