Firms lose Luas court appeal

A joint venture which came second in the bidding for Dublin’s €368m cross-city Luas line has failed in a High Court challenge to the process of awarding the contract.

Portuguese construction company, Somague Engenharia and Co Mayo-based civil engineers Wills Brothers, who established a joint venture to bid for the project, came second in the tendering process for the 5.6km of track linking the existing Green and Red Luas lines and extending to Cabra.

The winners were another joint venture, Sisk Steconfer, comprising Dublin-based construction company, John Sisk & Son and Steconfer, a Portuguese construction company specialising in railway works.

Somague/Wills claimed the tender competition was vitiated by serious errors and breach of the rules on public procurement. It was accepted by them that it was primarily about damages and no application has been made that the contract be suspended pending the determination of their proceedings.

The case was against Transport Infrastructure Ireland which was formed by the merger of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency, under 2015 legislation.

The main grounds for the challenge by Somague/ Wills main were that Transport Infrastructure Ireland applied inapplicable and/or identified criteria to its qualitative assessment in relation to the tie-in of the new line with the existing Red Line to Tallaght.

It was also claimed that Transport Infrastructure Ireland failed to apply certain identified and applicable criteria or to properly engage a process involving the most economically advantageous tender.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland denied the claims and opposed the application for judicial review.

Ms Justice Marie Baker yesterday refused the Somague/Wills application She found there was no manifest error in how the tenders were evaluated.


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