Dáil Éireann - Volume 627 - 14 November, 2006
Written Answers. - Payment Delivery Services.
Mr. Quinn Mr. Quinn
Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he has finalised his discussions on the opinion of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice regarding the decision of his Department to extend the payment delivery services contract with An Post; the action he will take arising from the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37612/06]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: Following the Government decision in 1999 to extend the An Post contract for the delivery of social welfare payments for a further 3 years a complaint was lodged with the European Commission under the Procurement Services Directive.
The Advocate-General to the European Court of Justice gave an opinion on the case on 14th September 2006 and concurred with the European Commission’s view that Ireland breached EU non-discrimination rules by not publicly advertising the payment delivery service. It is expected that the Court will give its judgement within a three to six month period.
Discussions are on-going with the Office of the Attorney General on the legal implications for the Department and on the steps to be taken should the judgement of the Court be in line with the Advocate-General’s opinion. It will be necessary to put forward a plan of action for approval by Government once the court decision is known. Pending the judgement, and recognizing the  essential payment delivery service which An Post currently provides for my Department, the Company will continue to provide these services.
Dáil Éireann 627 Written Answers. Payment Delivery Services.