How We Purchase

Who is responsible?

Purchasing is the responsibility of our business units in the Department, although it is subject to general oversight by our Contracts Branch, which includes a dedicated Procurement Unit.

All purchasing of goods and services must be subject to a competitive process, except in certain exceptional circumstances.

We use the following tendering methods, depending on the estimated value of the contract:

Less than €5,000

Quotes are sought from a minimum of three competitive suppliers and the most suitable or lowest price quote is accepted.

Between €5,000 and €25,000

Specifications and requests for written quotes are emailed to at least three providers. Offers are evaluated objectively against the specified requirements and the most suitable offer is selected.

Between €25,000 and €144,000

For purchases in this range, the tender process is normally advertised on e-tenders, the Irish Government Public Procurement Portal. This is intended to give Small and Medium Sized Enterprises throughout the island of Ireland the opportunity to tender. However, exceptional or urgent circumstances may require us to invite tenders directly from a number of selected operators without advertising.  

Over €144,000

At this level, calls for tenders are published on the eTenders website and in the Official Journal of the EU. Contracts above this threshold are awarded according to EU Directive 2004/18/EC as transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Award of Public Authorities’ Contracts) 2006 (S.I. 329 of 2006).  

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP)

We use certain goods and services from mandatory OGP pan-government framework contracts. These include:

  • Advertising
  • Electricity
  • Stationery and paper  

We also use a number of collaborative frameworks, which are open to Government departments and public bodies generally including frameworks for photography services and translation services. You can find out more about these arrangements on the OGP website www.ogp.gov.ie.  

Defence Directive

Public procurement rules are adapted to the specificities of defence procurements, which can be particularly complex and sensitive.

Procurement of defence and security equipment such as weapons, munitions and material for defence purposes is carried out in accordance with EU Directive 2009/81/EC. This is a specific Directive relating to the award of contracts dealing with the defence and security area which provides rules that enhance transparency and openness in defence markets while also ensuring that individual countries’ security concerns are protected. This Directive was transposed into Irish law by way of implementing S.I. No. 62 of 2012. 

As with the normal procurement Directive, there are thresholds involved. These are €412,000 for supply and service contracts and €5,150,000 for works contracts.