PSNI catering-deal concern

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SECURITY concerns were raised yesterday after a Dublin-based firm was awarded a contract to provide catering services to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Jeffrey Donaldson, an Ulster Unionist MP, said there were fears that safety could be compromised as a result of the cross-border deal. Under a deal agreed last Friday, Campbell Catering will provide restaurant services at up to 70 police stations and other PSNI offices in Northern Ireland. Mr Donaldson said: "It is clear that there are organisations who will seek to infiltrate companies who carry out contracts, and I am worried about the vetting arrangements for employees who are going to be involved in these catering contracts in police stations."

He said a number of people had been in touch with him seeking assurances that adequate security arrangements would be put in place.

He also raised concerns at the financial implications, given that a number of Northern Ireland firms had made bids for the contract. "It inevitably means that we will lose income generated from this very valuable contract to the local economy, at a time when we have seen significant job losses recently," Mr Donaldson told Irish radio.

Campbell - a member of the Campbell Bewley Group - already employs up to 200 people in the North and has offices in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Limerick.