Forensic lab indefinitely delayed due to lack of tenders
A new â¬ 60 million state forensic laboratory has been delayed indefinitely because no one has bid on the project.
The setback is already damaging the criminal justice system as well as victims of crime, it has been claimed.
The Public Works Office invited expressions of interest last April for the construction of the laboratory to replace the existing facility, a converted office building where a chronic lack of space has long been blamed for a delay in the solving crimes.
Of the 13 contractors who expressed interest, seven were deemed suitable and invited to bid on the project, which was originally due to be completed next year.
But despite a bid closing date extended by a month last year, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has confirmed that no developer is willing to take over the build, as currently envisioned.
âThe position is that no tender has yet been received for the construction of the new forensic science laboratory on the Backweston campus,â he said.
About 1.3 million euros have already been spent on ‘clearance work’ to prepare the site, near Celbridge, County Kildare, for the new headquarters of Forensic Science Ireland (FSI).
Mr Flanagan said the most recent bid submission date, which has expired without any interest, has now been postponed because “due to the complexity of the project and recent changes in international forensic laboratory standards, it will be necessary to add additional material to the offer. Documentation”.
The minister does not expect the new lab to be ready until 2021.
The delay was criticized by Fianna FÃ¡il justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, who said vital forensic work was being carried out “in an inappropriate converted office building behind the headquarters of Garda “.
Sheila Willis, former managing director of FSI who retired last year, said the current lab was “out of step” with international best practice standards and cramped working conditions were contributing to a backlog of cases.