Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Leinster House Closed Circuit TV.

Tuesday, 24 November 1981

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 331 No. 1

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6.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of the contract for the installation of closed circuit television in Leinster House.

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  It would not be in the best interests of this House to place on public record details of the security works being carried out at present.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  It is hardly necessary for me to say at the outset that I am disappointed with the reply. Can the Minister explain how, for example, he would regard the cost of the contract, the date on which it was placed and the name of the contractor? Also, were the materials used of Irish manufacture and what was to be the finishing date? Surely these matters are not ones that should be withheld from the House under any circumstances.

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  The installation of a closed-circuit television system is part of a general scheme of security works at Leinster House and that scheme was approved by the Leinster House authorities. Owing to the nature of the work it would be undesirable to give details for the public record and in any event it is a long-standing practice not to divulge details of tender. The work is due to be completed in a few weeks' time.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  What was the [8] date given originally to the contractor for the completion of the work?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  I do not have that information in my brief.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  Is the Minister aware that the date on the contract for the completion of the work has been exceeded by more than two months?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  I am not so aware.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  Is the Minister covering for one of his colleagues who has perhaps a greater interest in this project than has the Minister of State?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  I resent the suggestion that I am covering for anyone.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  Perhaps, then, the Minister would answer the question.

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  One of the questions asked by the Deputy was whether I was covering for anyone. I assure him that I am not covering for anybody, colleague or otherwise. It has been the practice not to divulge matters of security. We are talking here of a high-security business and, consequently, I am not prepared to give the details required by the Deputy. However, the information available to me is that the work will be finished in a few weeks' time. I do not have details of the date on which it was to start or of the date on which it was to finish, that is, if there ever were such dates referred to in the contract.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  It is unusual for the Minister of State responsible for public works not to have such information on his file. Can the Minister give the House a categorical assurance that the blueprint of the House and the plans for this work did not go outside the jurisdiction of the House either while the contract was being prepared or since?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  Not to my knowledge and I can assure the Deputy that [9] no irregularity took place in regard to this contract.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  That was not my question. I asked for an assurance from the Minister, not for a reply in terms of how far his knowledge would allow him to reply.

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  I am prepared to give an assurance that no irregularity took place in regard to this contract.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  I asked whether the Minister is prepared to state categorically that the blueprint of the House and the plans for this installation work did not at any stage go outside the jurisdiction area of this House.

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  As I have told the Deputy, no irregularity took place in regard to this contract or to any other contract within the jurisdiction of my Department.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  Am I to take it from the Minister's reply that the answer to my question is yes?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  The Deputy is not to take anything of the kind from my reply.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  It appears that way.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  This must be the final supplementary on this question.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  How much of the equipment used in this contract was of Irish manufacture?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  I have not got that information here but in contracts of this kind it is urged that as much Irish material as possible is to be used. However, this is something that is difficult to enforce.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  If I may be permitted one more supplementary, I should like the Minister to indicate whether my suspicions are right, that is, that the [10] entire handling of the placing of this contract and the matter in which it was carried out has been a disaster and of some concern for the security people of our country?

Mr. J. Bermingham: Information on Joseph Bermingham  Zoom on Joseph Bermingham  The Deputy is not correct in his suspicions.

Mr. Gene Fitzgerald: Information on Eugene Fitzgerald  Zoom on Eugene Fitzgerald  In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I wish, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on John F. O'Connell  Zoom on John F. O'Connell  The Chair will communicate with the Deputy.

Mr. Lenihan: Information on Brian Lenihan Snr.  Zoom on Brian Lenihan Snr.  As the Minister for Finance knows, there is a high security risk involved.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  He gave a direction in the matter.


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