No Offaly Companies Asked To Tender For Tree Planters
IT'S emerged that no Offaly company was invited to tender for the much admired tree planters located around Tullamore.
24th July 2014
No Offaly Companies Asked To Tender For €20,000 Tree Planters
Thursday, 24 July 2014
IT'S emerged that no Offaly company was invited to tender for the much admired tree planters located around Tullamore. The lucrative contract worth €20,000 was instead awarded to a company based in Naas. In addition, according to the co-ordinator of Just Forests, Mr Tom Roche, the timber used in the construction of the planters is non-certified West-African Iroko and not Irish timber which is available locally.
In a statement to the Tribune, Mr Roche said the addition of the trees add to the overall attractiveness of the town but he adds: '...we have to be concerned at the failure of the local authority to invite local businesses to submit quotes in an effort to stimulate jobs locally. Not as much as one of the SME's (small, medium, enterprises) with the capabilities to produce the tree planters that I contacted personally in Co. Offaly were asked to bid on the contract and all of them are paying rates payers. We must also raise alarm over the failure of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce not insisting that the contract - which was in the region of €20,000 - should be offered to Offaly SMEs.'
'So in this day and age with all the talk about local job creation we must ask the question why was no SME in Offaly asked to manufacture the tree planters? Why was non-certified West-African iroko used instead of Irish-grown timber which is readily available from a number of sawmills in the county? Incidentally, the use of West-African iroko in this instance goes contrary to Offaly Co Council's timber procurement policy...'
A spokesperson for Offaly County Council confirmed the planters cost €20,000 and said: 'We went to reputable people who supply planters. These planters are all over the country in various towns, that's why we chose them.' The planters have a steel interior to help withstand vandalism, knocks and the weather. However, shortly after their installation one of the planters was damaged.
Mr Roche said: 'A number of local SMEs told me they would have produced a much sturdier container made from local timber for a considerably lower sum. I believe if I were still in business I would have also. It is my firm belief that the 14 tree planters installed are design-wise un-fit for purpose and are more appropriate to a pedestrianised zone in a shopping centre instead of a busy street where cars and vans will inevitably damage them - as has happened already.'
Meanwhile Mr Joe Stewart of Tullamore Chamber of Commerce admitted that it was embarrassing for the Chamber that nobody local was asked to manufacture the planters.
'We would have preferred if they were made locally and it's disappointing that that didn't happen.'
Mr Stewart said: 'Tullamore has a name for being an engineering hub, and there are a lot of engineering people around who are quite innovative.'
He went on to say that efforts should have been made to identify local manufacturers. He stressed that there are steel fabricators locally and a joint collaboration with a carpenter could have had the same result.
Meanwhile, Mr Tom Roche said: 'From my own past experience as a self-employed carpenter and furniture-maker running a small-medium enterprise (SME) in a rented premises in The Tanyard, Tullamore, for a number of years, a contract such as this from your local authority was manna from heaven-it was sure work with guaranteed payment. Getting a small/medium contract from your local authority provided a certain amount of security and could often mean the difference between paying either 'Billy or Jack' or the whole team.'