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By Tim Healy

AN ENGINEERING firm has taken a High Court action over the rejection of its bid for an Irish Water pipe-laying contract.

In court proceedings, KC Civil Engineering Ltd (KCC) secured leave for a judicial review of Irish Water's decision in September to reject its tender of some €1m for the work.

Irish Water intends to offer the contract to the next lowest tenderer, the court heard.

The contract is for the laying of 10km of pipes to service 680 houses in Tralee, Co Kerry.

However, a dispute has arisen over an alleged "confusing" and unlawful procedure adopted by Irish Water concerning the awarding of the contract.

It was Kerry County Council that initially began a public procurement procedure for the job, but Irish Water later took over.

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Yesterday in the High Court, John Trainor SC, for KCC, which is based in Naas, Co Kildare, was granted leave by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan for a judicial review of the procedure leading to Irish Water's September 2014 decision not to proceed with awarding the contract to his client.

KCC alleges the award criterion for the contract meant it would go to the most economically advantageous tender.

The court heard that Irish Water wrote to KCC in July informing the firm that it had been identified as having submitted the most economically advantageous tender and seeking the performance bond required under the tender rules.

KCC claims that it complained that over the following weeks Irish Water subsequently engaged in a "confusing process" in relation to its demand for a performance bond.

KCC alleges it did provide an undertaking at 3.58pm on August 29. On September 2, it was notified that its tender had been rejected because it had not provided the undertaking by 1pm.


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