Top civil servant criticised by transport committee over suggestion of bias

Independent senator Gerard Craughwell says the claim was a ‘grave insult’

The contract for flying an estimated 700 annual search and rescue missions has been outsourced to CHC Ireland, a subsidiary of the Canadian Helicopter Corporation, for the past decade. Picture: Getty

The Department of Transport’s most senior official refused to appear in front of an Oireachtas committee over the government’s search and rescue plan because of concerns that a committee member may have a “relationship” with a party bidding for the €800 million contract.

Ken Spratt has been strongly criticised by the transport committee over his refusal to meet politicians about the government’s plan to award an €800 million search and rescue contract to an outsourced ...