Cllr Fiona Ryan asked Cork City Council to exclude Aramark from future contracts relating to the English Market.

Mixed opinions on Ryan’s motion

A city councillor this week called on City Hall to exclude Aramark from future contracts relating to the English Market.

Solidarity Cllr Fiona Ryan made the call during Monday’s Cork City Council meeting with some councillors agreeing with her while others had concerns about her motion.

She asked “that Cork City Council moves to exclude Aramark from future contracts relating to the English Market due to conditions they have presided over within institutions such as Direct Provision and internationally such as the US prison system”.

A report given to councillors said that Aramark is contracted by Cork City Council as the private managing agent for the English Market.

The report added: “In this role they are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day onsite market operations as well as assisting and collaborating with Cork City Council and traders to strategically develop and promote the English Market's unique offering. Aramark has made a significant contribution to the efficient and effective operation of the English Market to date.

“The company was successful in securing the contract following tendering processes undertaken by the council in 2012 and 2017. These were open procurement processes, guided and governed by national and European procurement rules.” The report continued: “This contract is still in place but is due to expire and will be issued again for competitive procurement in 2022. Under Cork City Council’s normal procedures, when the contract is next retendered every effort will be made to evaluate competing returns on a wide variety of criteria. The process will need to be conducted within the boundaries of public procurement rules.”

Cllr Ryan said during the meeting, after the report was given, that she had been made aware of the fact that as part of the public procurement process, issues of social consideration can be taken into account. Workers’ Party Cllr Ted Tynan said he was in favour of Cllr Ryan’s motion while Sinn Féin Cllr Mick Nugent said he didn’t think it was “a good look” for the city to be dealing with Aramark.

Green Party Cllr Dan Boyle said: “I think the opportunity of the revision of the management contract which is coming up for renewal soon should also look at how the English Market can be upgraded.”

Former lord mayor Cllr Joe Kavanagh said: “My only concern here is that we are going down a road where we don’t have all of the facts.”

“There is an association with Direct Provisions and the US prison system and I certainly don’t know all of the facts so I would be very slow to support something where I am not 100 per cent aware of the facts on this particular issue,” said the Fine Gael councillor.

Independent Cllr Kieran McCarthy said: “We need to be very careful about the narrative that comes out of this meeting that we are picking and choosing contracts but I do hear the concerns that have been expressed.”

Aramark was emailed about the motion, City Hall’s report and commentary from councillors however no reply was received as of going to print on Wednesday.