New contract for speed cameras to be worth up to €206m

Expanded contract will bring State’s overall spend on privatised speed cameras to more than €400m

The Government has sought expressions of interest in a new contract for privately operated speed cameras on the national road network, worth up to €206 million.

The current contract, which is held by the GoSafe consortium was awarded in August 2015 for an initial six-year period and was worth up to €115.5 million. It has since been extended.

The Garda said the increase in cost of the new contract was related to additional hours of operation of speed vans — up from 7,500 per month during the last contract, to “at least 9,000 hours” per month in the forthcoming contract. In addition, the new contract is for an initial period of eight years, two longer than the current one.

In September 2023, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee announced an additional €1.2 million for GoSafe to increase monitoring hours by 20 per cent, or an extra 1,500 hours per month until the end of last year. It brought the number of GoSafe hours up to 9,000 per month.

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The move followed concern that the number of road deaths, having fallen steadily from 2005 until 2021, was rising again.

In January of this year, Ms McEntee told the Oireachtas Committee on Justice that a further €3.6 million would be provided for GoSafe speed cameras, continuing the increased level of operations of 9,000 hours per month throughout 2024.

The new contract, for which a pre-tender qualification notice has been advertised, is not expected to be in place until early 2025. It is a requirement that the contract be retendered every few years.

Documents released by then minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald to Independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath in 2016 showed the gross cost of the speed camera system to the exchequer since 2010 was then €87 million. A figure of €115.5 million was quoted for the next six-year contract at that time.

The cameras were earning the exchequer an estimated €7 million plus per year in fines from errant motorists back in 2016.

All contracts have so far been awarded to the GoSafe consortium. GoSafe is the operating name of Road Safety Operations Ireland. The firm’s owners include Co Kerry businessman Xavier McAuliffe and a French company, Egis, who own 42 per cent each. The third owner is Redflex Holdings with 16 per cent.

Mr McGrath has been a consistent critic of the privatised speed camera system. He said the money would be better spent on Garda enforcement.

“These vans cannot spot a car with no tax or insurance, a bald tyre or give chase,” he said. “We are constantly hearing that gardaí can now check at the roadside if a car is insured, so we should be giving them the resources to do so”, he said this week. It was “offensive” that “so much money would not go to the Garda to do the job, he said, adding “if you think what the gardaí could do with the money”.

In the notice published on the State’s e-tenders website, interested parties are asked to pre-qualify for the tendering process by answering a “pre-qualification questionnaire”, which examines them on their ability to do the job.

It said the process is being run by the Office of Government Procurement on behalf of the Garda Commissioner and the estimated value of the contract is up to €206 million, excluding VAT.

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