independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

Road workers still locked in pay row

GRIFFIN LASHES 'LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY'

MARIAN O'FLAHERTY

Published 07/11/2012 | 09:47

West Kerry subcontractors Sean Moriarty and Liam Ó Baicéir protesting at Annascaul on the N86 early last week. Credit: Photo by Marian O'flaherty

THERE is no resolution in sight to the dispute over payments which saw sub-contractors block traffic on the N86 Dingle - Tralee Road last week.

Disgruntled sub-contractors and workers, who claim they are owed in the region of €200,000 for machinery hire and works carried out on the N86 Annascaul to Gortbreagoge Road Improvement Scheme, mounted a blockade on the road last Tuesday morning. The blockade remained in place from 7am - 9am, forcing drivers to seek alternative routes, but it was removed after gardai intervened.

Solicitors acting for Roscommon based Noel O'Regan & Sons (Plant Hire) Limited released a statement to The Kerryman last week stating that, as the main contractor to Kerry County Council on the N86 Annascaul to Gortbreagoge Road Improvement Scheme, they engaged Derry-based BM Groundworks Limited as a subcontractor to carry out certain earthworks. It is believed that BM Groundworks subsequently hired the sub-contractors who are now in dispute over payments.

A spokesperson for the Derry based firm said they have been in a payment dispute with Noel O'Regan and Sons Ltd since last June. However, the solicitors for O'Regan and Sons said they have paid BM Groundworks for work done by the firm.

The National Roads Authority told The Kerryman that issues regarding the work on the N86 will be managed directly through Kerry County Council. However, a council spokesperson insisted Kerry County Council "has no involvement in the employment of sub-contractors."

Speaking to The Kerryman this week, South Kerry Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, who raised the issue in the Dáil over a month ago, said that he is trying to broker a mediation which would see all parties sit down in an effort to bring the pay dispute to an end. He added that it is a "very frustrating situation".

"The issue here is a lack of accountability," he said, adding that he intends to raise the wider issues arising from the situation in the Dáil in the coming weeks.

Local Fine Gael councillor Seamus Cosaí Fitzgerald, who is in regular contact with the sub-contractors in the dispute told The Kerryman this week that machinery has been withdrawn from the site and that a yard has been blockaded.

Meanwhile, several workers from Tyrone, who have been making the journey to Annascaul since last January to work on the site, also contacted The Kerryman this week claiming that they too are in dispute over payment for work carried out on the road.

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