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HSE not going ahead with purported €7.4 million deal for 350 ventilators, High Court told

Swords-based company Narooma claims it entered into a deal with the HSE over the ventilators in late-March.

File photo. Court room.
File photo. Court room.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

THE HSE IS not going ahead with a purported €7.4 million deal to buy 350 medical ventilators from a Dublin-based company, the High Court has heard.

Narooma Ltd, which provides various services to the pharmaceutical and life-science industries, has sued the Health Services Executive over its alleged failure to honour a contract to source and sell intensive care unit medical ventilators.

Swords-based Narooma claimed the deal to buy the ventilators, which were ordered as part of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, was entered into in late March.

The court heard that under the agreement the ventilators were due to be shipped to Ireland from the far east in three tranches between 20 April and 15 May next.

The company initiated High Court proceedings last week, where it sought various injunctions against the HSE.

The case returned before the court today when Martin Hayden SC, appearing with Matt Jolley instructed by Murray Flynn solicitors for Narooma told Mr Justice Mark Heslin that the HSE had informed his client last Friday that it was not going to purchase the 350 ventilators.

As a result the claim was now one of an alleged breach of contract, and there would be an application to have it admitted to the fast-track Commercial Court list, counsel said.

There was no need in light of the HSE’s decision not to buy the equipment to proceed with the application for the injunctions, counsel added.

The matter was adjourned to a date later this month on the consent of the parties.

Lawyers for the HSE had previously told the court that it had engaged in due diligence in relation to the deal.

In its action, Narooma claims the HSE breached the contract when it failed to pay the money by the close of business on 30 March last.

The ventilators were sourced in the Far East by Narooma, the court heard.

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The alleged breach resulted in the company seeking various orders including one compelling the HSE to transfer the sums due to Narooma under the purported contract.

It also sought an order restraining the HSE from taking any steps to avoid its obligations under the contract, as well as an order preventing the defendant from purchasing similar types of ventilators until the sums allegedly due under the contract have been paid to Narooma.

The case will be mentioned before the Commercial Court, the big business division of the High Court, when the new legal term commences later this month.

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Aodhan O'Faolain & Ray Managh

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