Plea for Irish organ for St Mel's Cathedral

Monday 27 February 2012 23.17
On Christmas Day 2009, St Mel's Cathedral in Longford was destroyed by fire
On Christmas Day 2009, St Mel's Cathedral in Longford was destroyed by fire

Fine Gael TD James Bannon has asked Bishop Colm O'Reilly to reconsider selecting an Italian organ maker to rebuild the organ in St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford.

On Christmas Day 2009, the Cathedral was destroyed by fire.

Mr Bannon is urging Bishop O’Reilly to get the sole producer of organs in Ireland, Kenneth Jones Pipe Organs Ltd, to rebuild the organ.

In a letter to the Bishop Mr Bannon wrote that it was a matter of "some disquiet" that the diocesan authorities in Ardagh and Clonmacnoise were dealing with the Italian company, on that the basis their tender price was lower than that of Wicklow based company, who had originally installed the Cathedral organ.

Mr Bannon said he recognised the importance of cost effectiveness but said that the onus is on everyone to shop locally due to the current "state of the country".

Mr Bannon’s letter was published by the Catholic Communications Office alongside a statement from Bishop O'Reilly.

The Bishop's response said that a seven member tendering committee recommended the contract be offered to Italian company Fratelli Ruffati, on the basis of musicality, organ design and value for money.

The Bishop said there will be a cost saving of €30,000 by going with the Italian company.

While contracts are awarded to Irish contractors where possible, the Bishop said he would be failing in his duty if he did not take value for money and quality into account.