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Firm to question tag tender process in EU

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By Declan O'Brien

Tuesday October 07 2008

A leading livestock tag manufacturer has questioned the Department of Agriculture's tendering process for the supply of cattle tags for the national herd.

TJ Gormley, of Tuam-based firm Cormac Tagging, said that the manner in which the contract was evaluated "lacked transparency" and was "anti competitive".

However, the department has strongly rebutted Mr Gormley's assertions.

Mr Gormley claimed that the department had refused an independent assessment of the various tags which had been put forward by companies for the contract.

He said his company's tags, which are accepted in 27 countries and are used in Northern Ireland and England, had been successfully trialled on several farms in the Republic, but that these holdings had not been visited by department officials although their details had been forwarded by Mr Gormley.

This is the third time Cormac Tagging have applied for the contract, but Mr Gormley was adamant that his anger at not securing the contract was not a case of "sour grapes".

"We have spent a lot of money on trials over the last three years. Our tag is Pas 44 approved, which is the British and European standard for cattle tags, but the assessment [of the tag] from the department has been completely inconsistent each year," he maintained.

Mr Gormley said he is now lodging a formal complaint to the Competition Authority regarding the evaluation procedures employed by the department and he is considering taking the matter to Europe.

"There was no transparency in the manner in which this contract was awarded. In my opinion, the marking system for assessing tags is flawed and I'm going to go to the bitter end to see justice is done here," Mr Gormley said.

The department refused to comment on the detail of the tender process. However, in a statement to the Farming Independent they insisted that the public tender had been carried out in accordance with "EU and national procurement requirements".

"The detailed Request for Tender document outlined the criteria for the evaluation of proposals and these were strictly adhered to in the process," the department maintained.

Cormac Tagging was one of several companies which failed to secure the lucrative cattle tag contract, which is understood to be worth around €5 million per year. The contract was awarded to Mullinahone Co-op in Co Tipperary.

- Declan O'Brien




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