Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 11 March, 1999
Written Answers. - National Conference Centre.
Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin
11. Mrs. B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation the position in regard to the proposed national conference centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7395/99]
Dr. McDaid Dr. McDaid
Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation (Dr. McDaid): The latest tender procedure for the development of a National Conference Centre in Dublin, with EU assistance of up to 33 million ECU under the Operational Programme for Tourism 1994-1999, was organised by Bord Fáilte under the direction of the independent Management Board for Product Development, and advertised in 1997.
The procedure was conducted under the terms of EU Council Directive 93/37/EEC and Bord Fáilte-led evaluation teams undertook detailed assessments of full tender submissions which were received from five consortia. The management board concluded that the tenders submitted were not such as to enable it to make a recommendation and the process then proceeded in April 1998 to the 'negotiated procedure' stage provided for in Article 7 of the EU directive. This was conducted by an independent team of technical experts, specially appointed for the purpose by Bord Fáilte. On consideration of their findings, and following a positive recommendation by the board of Bord Fáilte, the management board decided on the proposal submitted by Spencer Dock International Convention Centre Ltd to develop the project at a site in Dublin Docklands.
Under the terms of the Operational Programme, decisions on grant applications in respect of amounts at or above 15 million ECU, productive investments, must be made with the agreement of the Government and the EU Commission on foot of a cost-benefit analysis conducted in accordance with Community law. This cost-benefit analysis, which was favourable towards the project, was undertaken by independent consultants and on 16 September 1998 the Government agreed to the making of a submission to the EU Commission recommending formal approval for a 33 million ECU grant towards the cost of developing the project. The final decision of the Commission, who are also concluding their examination of a complaint lodged with them on the  tender procedures under the public procurement process, is awaited. All queries subsequently raised by the Commission have been responded to through correspondence and meetings between Bord Fáilte, the management board and Commission officials.
The developers are still working towards completion within the timeframe of the current Operational Programme, should an early and favourable outcome from the Commission's deliberations on the project be forthcoming.
Dáil Éireann 502 Written Answers. National Conference Centre.