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Labour's Ruairí Quinn criticises Fine Gael's "anti-market attitudes"

Quinn reacts to FG’s Brian Hayes comment that the awarding of a contract to print State exam papers to a UK company was “absurd”.

Ruairí Quinn
Ruairí Quinn
Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

LABOUR’S RUAIRÍ QUINN has criticised his party’s coalition government partner, Fine Gael, for its “anti-market attitudes” in relation to the awarding of a contract to print state examination papers to a UK firm.

The State Examination Commission’s decision to award the contract for printing the Leaving and Junior Certificate exam papers to an English company was criticised by Fine Gael’s deputy finance spokesperson Brian Hayes.

Hayes told TheJournal.ie that it was “absurd” that contracts were being awarded to companies who were not based in Ireland.

However, Labour’s education spokesperson Ruairí Quinn told TheJournal.ie that if an international bid for the contract was the more successful and the best value for money then the SEC had no choice.

Hayes said it was the incoming government’s responsibility to look at the whole question of procurement right across the Irish printing industry to keep jobs in Ireland.

He said they must do “whatever is neccessary to keep work here”.

However, his coalition government partner Quinn said that the loss of the contract to a UK firm was a result of a “loss of competitiveness in the Irish economy brought about by Fianna Fáil.”

But he added that he was “amazed” by Fine Gael’s “anti-market attitudes”.

The SEC said that Irish printing firms were awarded more than 50 per cent of the annual value of printing material required for examinations if you included coursework journals, examiner and superintendent information booklets and marking schemes.

It also confirmed that Stephen Austin & Sons printers in Hertfordshire would print the Leaving and Junior Certificate exam papers while the Dublin based Irish International Print would print the Leaving Certificate Applied papers.

Both printing firms declined to comment.

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Hugh O'Connell

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