THE GOVERNMENT has defended the cost of its special website to mark its forthcoming Presidency of the European Union, which was launched yesterday.
The site will be the government’s main method of public communication throughout the six-month presidency, which officially begins on January 1 but which ceremonially kicked off yesterday.
The site will include a full calendar of meetings taking place under Ireland’s presidency, which will see Irish ministers chair high-level meetings of their 26 EU counterparts in both Ireland and Brussels.
A government spokesman said the website’s developers, Terminal Four Solutions, had been identified through an open tendering process conducted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2010.
“With over 2,500 pages on the site, EU2013.ie provides information on all high level meetings held in Ireland and Brussels, and is the platform for enabling delegates and media from across Europe to accredit for those,” a spokeswoman told TheJournal.ie.
She added that the site will “provide live streaming of elements of meetings and of press conferences” and be integrated with social media features “to enable fast turnaround of breaking news and statements and it will carry information on the EU and on Ireland”.
Streaming of Council meetings, whether held in Brussels or in the capital city of the country hosting the rotating presidency, is already provided on the Council of the European Union’s own dedicated video website.
Cost not the only factor
Tender documents published last year, when the awarding of the website contract was formally announced, showed that the overall cost of the proposed project would only contribute 25 per cent towards the ‘score’ attached to each bid.
Other factors involved included the ‘quality of the proposed solution and resources offered’ (worth 25 per cent), the technical merit (20 per cent) and comprehensiveness (15 per cent) of the bid, and the ‘quality of proposed support, training and knowledge transfer’ (15 per cent).
Terminal Four already provides website services to many other state bodies, including the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The Government spokeswoman said the company had experience in “delivering large multilingual websites and their services to this Department”.