DCSIMG

Borderlines - 27-08-09

Whatever they say, there's still a border. Still a 'them and us' scenario particularly when it comes to commerce and all related business. And this week two examples of it caused a measure of anger and dismay in Donegal.

Whatever they say, there's still a border. Still a 'them and us' scenario particularly when it comes to commerce and all related business. And this week two examples of it caused a measure of anger and dismay in Donegal.

First, we had the decision by the Department of Defence to award a 1.5 million euro contract to a company in Omagh, County Tyrone, for building work at Finner Camp.

Hardly had the first shots been fired in that debate than there came the news that a County Derry based company will supply fruit and vegetables to around thirty hospitals, nursing homes and residential units throughout the county after a contract to this effect was signed by the Health Service Executive.

The latter move has landed a blow on the Donegal Town based firm, Donegal Fruit, which originally supplied the produce to HSE outlets, albeit on shorter term contracts. A company spokesman claimed a number of jobs could be at risk as a result unless they could line up a replacement for the lost contract.

Peadar McGinty said he believed the HSE had made a mistake in signing a two year contract with the Derry firm, Season Harvest which is based in Claudy.

A HSE source has pointed out that the arrangement with Season Harvest was fully compliant with Government guidelines and a European Union directive which states that tenders for contracts worth above 206,000 euro must be advertised throughout Europe.

And there's the rub as far as those opposed to the awarding of contracts to cross-border operations are concerned. For while we are a part of the European Union, we cannot close off any avenues when it comes to negotiating or awarding business deals.

The salient point is that were the boot on the other foot and a contract was awarded by a Northern Ireland company to a Donegal based enterprise we would likely be lauding it as a boost for the local economy.

Indeed, stretching it further, if a company in England or any other part of Europe signed a contract for work or service to be undertaken by a firm here it would undoubtedly be seen as a major fillip.

Certainly, it's important that we support our local industry but at a time when international borders are being opened, there is little we can do - even if there's plenty we can say - when a contract is awarded to a company outside the jurisdiction.

 
 
 

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