Monday 23 July 2018

Dutch company involved in building six Irish schools where work has stopped claim delay was 'inevitable'

The new school development, Loreto Secondary School, Wexford. Picture: Patrick Browne
The new school development, Loreto Secondary School, Wexford. Picture: Patrick Browne
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The Dutch partner in the consortium involved in building six Irish schools where work has stopped said a delay in finishing the projects was “inevitable”.

At least two of the schools Loreto, Wexford and Coláiste Raithín, Bray, were expecting to move into their new premises today and others are close to completion.

Also affected are Ravenswell Primary School, which is due to share the Bray campus with Coláiste Raithín,  Eureka Secondary School, Kells, Co Meath and Tyndall College, Carlow and Carlow College of Further Education, both Carlow.

Concerns arose over the timeline for completion and handover of the buildings when the UK-based construction company, Carillion, went into liquidation last week.

Carillion and the Dutch-based DIF Infrastructure (DIF) are partners in the InspiredSpaces consortium that won the €100m contract for the schools, under public private partnership (PPP) arrangements.

The consortium is responsible for both the construction of the buildings and their maintenance and the overall cost is paid in stages over 25 years.

DIF said today that it had been “surprised at the speed” of Carillion’s collapse, and “the impact this could have on completing the projects”.

The company stated said it was its “top priority” to resolve the situation “as quickly as possible”.

However, it acknowledged that the situation was complex and offered no idea of when it hoped that the matter would be resolved.

The statement added: “We appreciate how disappointing this must be to parents, pupils, the local authorities and other stakeholders, but we are currently speaking to everyone involved in order to try and find a way forward.

“DIF would like to reassure all those in the areas where the schools are being built that we are working as hard as we can to try and find a solution. We will be able to keep you updated as the situation develops over the next few weeks.”

To date, the only payment made by the Department of Education to InspiredSpaces is €4million for off-site works, which have already been completed.    

DIF stressed that Irish PPP projects were of strategic importance to the company.

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