Tuesday, 9 December 1980
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. O'Toole: asked the Taoiseach (a) the cost of the provision of a dining room in his Department; (b) whether tenders were sought for this work; (c) whether tenders were sought for the provision of catering services and (d) whether the catering accounts will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.
The Taoiseach: The provision of a dining room in Government Buildings forms part of the ongoing refurbishment  scheme for the north block, Government Buildings. The expenditure on the dining room is not recorded separately and to segregate the cost of these works would require a detailed examination by a quantity surveyor which would involve an inordinate amount of time and expense. The order of cost, however, of providing the dining room and ancillary facilities is approximately £20,000.
Tenders for the refurbishment of the north block of Government Buildings were invited in January 1979 and a contract was placed in April 1979. The question of inviting separate tenders for the dining room did not, therefore, arise.
Three catering organisations were approached in connection with the provision of catering services. One of these indicated that it was not capable of providing the service required. One of the remaining two concerns was then selected, on the basis that it was best equipped to provide the quality of service required and had the necessary experience in the field. No formal contract has been entered into with the catering organisation concerned, pending experience with the operation of the dining facility.
The expenditure involved in the operation of the dining facilities will be charged to my Department's Vote or to subhead C of the Vote for Miscellaneous Expenses, which covers State entertainment, as appropriate. These Votes are audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with normal procedure.
Mr. O'Toole: The Taoiseach mentioned the ongoing refurbishing scheme taking place in his offices. He mentioned that three catering firms had been approached. May I take it that they were approached to furnish tenders for the catering facilities?
The Taoiseach: No, I do not think that at all. This is an entirely separate matter. The facility which I have thought it necessary to provide is largely an economy measure, a saving of both time and money in so far as this particular matter is concerned.
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