Words: Eva O’Beirne
Minister Roderick O’Gorman confirmed in the Dáil today that Aramark got the contract to cater and manage “hubs” for Ukrainian refugees without a procurement process.
Aramark was previously paid 7.7 million euro in 2020 for the operation of three direct provision centres under a contract that was subsequently deemed to contravene procurement law.
Just today it was revealed that the National Gallery had told its employees to told to ‘think hard’ about their reactions to the Gallery’s new Aramark contract in an internal email, emphasising the “time-consuming” nature of the controversy.
The contract with Aramark – worth 7.5 million euro over three years – caused upset among staff who wrote to its board in February, asking board members to reconsider their decision in a letter signed by 34 of 170 staff members, noting Aramark’s values were “at odds” with those of the gallery.
The gallery staff said the contract with Aramark was “in direct conflict” with years of work the gallery had put into building relations with asylum seekers and those in direct provision.
When news of the contract was made public, several artists removed their work from an exhibition at the gallery, it was petitioned by the public to cut ties with Aramark, and a protest took place outside the gallery which was organised by the End Direct Provision action group.
Elsewhere on District: Capel Street to be pedestrianised next month