Cycling in Lough Boora Discovery Park

Bord na Móna defends Lough Boora bike hire contract decision

In the face of massive local opposition to the awarding of the Lough Boora bike hire contract to a Dublin-based company, Bord na Mona said that the procurement process for the contract was “a fair and open competition.”

In a statement issued late last night (Tuesday) the semi-State company said it recently tendered the bike hire service at Lough Boora Discovery Park on eTenders “as we are required to do.”

The procurement process was conducted “with independent oversight” and was “a fair and open competition” according to Bord na Móna, with all tender responses being evaluated “across set competition and compliance criteria” and the winning provider “scored highest across all evaluation criteria.”

The bike hire contract, which was established over 11 years ago by Lumcloon man and Bord na Móna employee, Pat Barrett, was awarded to one of the biggest bike hire companies in the country, Dublin-based CK Cycles, a move which has sparked outrage locally and has resulted in a petition to boycott the new bike hire service in Lough Boora.

In a post on the Lough Boora Facebook page on Friday night last, Pat Barrett expressed his disappointment and added “so much for trying to keep jobs locally.”

Mr. Barrett’s post has attracted almost 9,000 comments from people expressing their outrage at the decision, and has been shared over 2.6k times.

Since then a petition has been set up calling on people to boycott the new bike rental service at Lough Boora Discovery Park once it begins operations. The petition called “Stand With Pat” has been widely circulated on social media and continues to attract huge support.

Meanwhile, local politicians have also been expressing their anger at the decision to award the Lough Boora bike hire service to a Dublin-based company, with local Fianna Fail TD, Barry Cowen, seeking an urgent meeting with Bord na Móna in an effort to have the decision reconsidered.

Deputy Cowen, who offered his “unwavering support” to Mr Barrett, said he was “shocked, dismayed, bemused and angered” by the decision and is planning to “question whether tender procedures were property enforced.”

Independent TD Carol Nolan said the move was all the more disappointing coming at a time of “ so-called 'Just Transition' that has created no jobs to date.”

The local TD said she would be taking the matter up directly with Bord na Móna to check whether the tendering process was followed “correctly and even if it was followed legally.” She added that “it most certainly wasn’t followed morally or decently” and said many members of the local community “will not accept the despicable behaviour of Bord na Móna which has stooped to a new low.”

While Bord na Mona said in their statement that they “understand the disappointment of Mr. Barrett” they insist that, as a semi-State company “we must implement the fair and open processes and procedures which are mandated by the State.”

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