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Pardon my scepticism, but this competition smells rotten and bears all the hallmarks of a pre-election stunt for the benefit of the minister in charge of the OPW, Martin Cullen, local TD. By the time the results are out, Cullen will (almost certainly) no longer be in his current office. Conveniently, the OPW Commissioner, Barry Murphy, will also be moving on in the Autumn, clearing the way for the project to be cancelled by their successors in a tidy fashion by blaming the competition system for not producing a good enough / affordable (strike out as required) result. I’m only surpised the OPW hasn’t covered its back by getting the RIAI to organise the competition on its behalf. Maybe they wouldn’t? Is the huge prize money intended to buy off disappointed competitors when the winning scheme is abandoned? Cullen’s empty, vainglorious gesture will end up costing taxpayers an arm and a leg. Will we have a PAC enquiry when the shit eventually hits the fan? Will Sean Benton be left holding the baby? Cullen and Murphy shouldn’t escape a grilling, I say.

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