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Social clauses in public procurement

Peadar Toibin (SF, Meath W) raised the possibility of including social clauses in public procurement projects (Dail Eireann, Debates, 23rd May 2013, 825-6).  The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, told him that this was something that he had been examining closely, such clauses being used to factor into the procurement process such issues as equal opportunities and social inclusion.  Such clauses must be compatible with European law: here, the Commission had issued guidance in 2010 and a revised EU directive was in consideration.  Meantime, the government Contracts Committee for Construction had approved a pilot initiative under the National Development Finance Agency Devolved Schools Programme Design and Build Framework which required the contractor to recruit from the long-term unemployed.