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Search and Rescue - Statement from Minister Dempsey

22nd April 2010
Search and Rescue - Statement from Minister Dempsey

The Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey T.D. has today announced that the Government has agreed to contract discussions taking place on the extension of the new Search and Rescue helicopter contract to cover a full 24-hour service at all four existing bases.

The "standstill" period following the selection for the preferred tender for the new tender has concluded. The Minister stated: "The initial constraints imposed on me by the procurement process have now ended. I am therefore delighted to be able to confirm that our post-tender negotiations with the preferred bidder, which commenced yesterday, have shown that we can achieve a major reduction in the cost difference between a full 24-hour service at 4 bases and the alternative option which would reduce cover at one of the bases to 12 hours. Under procurement rules, we must now inform the tendering companies of this development, and negotiation of the details of the contract will recommence in approximately two weeks time when a further standstill period has ended."

Successful conclusion of a contract for a four-base 24-hour service would mean the continuation of the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter service, by way of a new contract to come into effect on a staggered basis from mid-2012 for a fleet of helicopters, one constantly at readiness at each base (Dublin, Shannon, Sligo and Waterford) over ten years.

Minister Dempsey considered it unfortunate that the release of some details of the tender before discussions had even commenced could have made legitimate post-tender discussion on the contract details more difficult. In that context he indicated that no further details on discussions would be released until a contract had been concluded.

Published in News Update
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