Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Second Irish government contract won by Northern Ireland firm

A second Irish Government contract which was up for tender in the north-west of Ireland has been awarded to a company in Northern Ireland.

The €1m (£875,000) Health Service Executive (HSE) contract to supply fruit and vegetables to public hospitals in Co Donegal has gone to a company in Co Londonderry, it emerged yesterday.

This comes in the wake of revelations that the Irish Department of Defence passed over companies in the Republic to award a lucrative building contract at a Co Donegal army barracks to a Co Tyrone construction company.

Mark Fielding, chief executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (ISME) association, last night accused the Irish Government of hiding behind EU legislation when it comes to awarding contracts. “We seem to be the top of the class in Ireland when it comes to giving into the EU but if this was France or Italy, this would not be the case.”

From next week 30 hospitals, nursing homes and residential

units in an area stretching from Malin Head to Bundoran will be supplied with their fruit and vegetables by a company based in Claudy, Co Derry.

The two-year contract with Season Harvest, a wholesale fruit and veg company squeezes out Donegal Fruit, based in Donegal, which has been supplying hospitals in the county for 42 years.

Peadar McGinty of Donegal Fruit said jobs could be at risk because of the contract’s loss.

The HSE confirmed the contract had been awarded to Season Harvest, pointing out that the arrangement was fully compliant with government guidelines and an EU directive that tenders for contracts above €206,000 must be advertised Europe-wide.

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