Dáil Éireann - Volume 102 - 16 July, 1946

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Building of Cargo Liners.

Mr. Norton asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether his attention has been directed to the announcement that Irish Shipping, Limited, have entered into contracts with the British shipbuilding firm, Messrs. John Readhead and Sons, South Shields, for the building of two cargo liners; whether he will state if these contracts were placed as the result of competitive tendering on the part of Messrs. Readhead and Sons; [837] whether any Irish firms were invited to submit tenders for the building of either of these ships, or for any part of the work; and whether he will make a statement as to the position generally concerning the shipbuilding and the ship-repairing industry in this country.

Mr. Lemass: I am aware that Irish Shipping, Limited, have placed the order to which the Deputy refers. I am satisfied that Irish Shipping, Limited, are most anxious to place orders with Irish shipbuilding firms. They are keeping in constant touch with the Liffey Dockyard Company, but this firm are not yet quite ready to undertake the building of vessels of the type required.

A comprehensive statement as to the general position of the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industry in this country could not conveniently be made in reply to a Dáil question.

Mr. Norton: Will the Minister answer that portion of the question which inquires whether he will state if these contracts were placed as a result of competitive tendering on the part of this particular firm and whether any Irish firms were invited to submit tenders for the building of either of these ships?

Mr. Lemass: There are no Irish firms in a position to build ships of this type at present. If Irish firms were in a position to accept orders for this type of ships, they would get them from Irish Shipping, Limited. In present circumstances, it is a question of getting orders accepted anywhere, rather than seeking competitive tenders.

Mr. Norton: Was the placing of the contracts with this firm the result of the submission of competitive tenders or was the firm selected without any competitive tenders?

Mr. Lemass: It was the result of a [838] diligent search over the whole world to get a firm that would accept the contract.