Further IGB stadium tender woes

Further irregularities have emerged in the Irish Greyhound Board’s (IGB) costly effort to recover from a collapsed gentleman’s agreement that had underpinned the construction of its new €23m stadium in Limerick.

Further IGB stadium tender woes

It has been established that terms were discussed with a successful tender before the procurement process began and that firm went on to be paid much more than the IGB suggested in evidence to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

These emerged as the IGB confirmed the Comptroller and Auditor General has started an investigation into the project, and it is co-operating.

Up to now the key points of concern have been:

* The cost of raising the land levels at the site when the firm selling it, Limerick Race Company (LRC), had agreed to do it for free, in an unwritten pact.

* The manner in which the hurried tender to fill the site was then awarded to Roadbridge, whose owner, Pat Mulcair, owned a significant minority stake in LRC.

New details show that internal reports contradict categoric statements the IGB made to the PAC on the cost of the engineering work.

And, before the open procurement competition began, the IGB had already discussed the final tender price with Mr Mulcair’s Roadbridge. The builder later won the contract on similar terms.

It has already been reported that the IGB voted to award Roadbridge the tender on the same day as the deadline for receipt of competing bids and before the top three candidates were even interviewed about their pitches.

That board decision happened two weeks before the project manager assessing the rival proposals delivered his recommendation report.

Officially, the contract was not awarded until Jan 12, 2009 — a month after the board decision.

The Irish Examiner has now established that in Nov 2008 — before the tender process — Roadbridge had discussed the work with the IGB’s representative and offered to fill the site for €60-per-load. After the subsequent tender, in which 10 companies bid, Roadbridge narrowly won with an offer that worked out at between €61 and €70 per load.

Inconsistencies have also emerged in the IGB’s account of how much Roadbridge was paid.

At November’s PAC hearing, the CEO Adrian Neilan, who later left the company, said there was no way the filling cost €1.4m. “The site was filled for €1m,” he said.

This was reiterated in a lengthy report received by the PAC over Christmas, which put the cost at €1.014m.

However, a separate surveyor’s spreadsheet — included in a briefing given to the PAC — stated it cost €1.5m (€1.37m ex-Vat).

That amount was also set out in the final account reconciliation statement (June 2012) and the surveyor’s budget report (Oct 2011).

In addition, a report prepared by the former CEO in 2012 said the original tender of €872,200 had to be increased by €507,649. This brought the total to €1.37m ex-Vat.

The IGB has released a statement which criticised the Irish Examiner and said there were no gaps in its figures.

“Many of the questions are financial in nature and relate to financial reconciliations and contractual matters on a project that was completed five years ago. The board is satisfied that the financial ‘discrepancies’ about which Mr [Conor] Ryan requests an explanation, do not, in fact, exist,” it said.

Roadbridge and Mr Mulcair were contacted but no statement was forthcoming.

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