Wednesday 21 March 2018

Uncertainty surrounds €100m new school building projects caught up in Carillion liquidation

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Uncertainty surrounds six new school building projects, worth a total of €100m, caught up in the liquidation of the UK company, Carillion.

The schools are being built under public private partnership (PPP) arrangements and in the case of one, Loreto College, Wexford, the building was due to be occupied with in the next week or so.

The other projects are Coláiste Raithín and  St Philomena’s Primary School, both in Bray, Co Wicklow, Eureka Secondary Schools, Kells, Co Meath and Tyndall College, Carlow and Carlow College of Further Education.

Carillion is the lead consortium member and a 50pc shareholder in InspiredSpaces, which is responsible for delivery of the schools.

PPP schools are built under licence through which the Department pays an annual sum, known as a Unitary Charge payment, for 25 years to cover costs of construction and maintenance.

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

Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo Gareth Chaney, Collins
Education Minister Richard Bruton. Photo Gareth Chaney, Collins

Education Minister Richard Bruton said the projects were 90pc completed and the Department of Education was committed to full completion “in as timely a manner as possible.”

He said the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), which is managing the contract for the Department, would be discussing the situation with the remaining shareholder, DIF-Dutch Infrastructure Fund and he was confident of a resolution.

The NDFA said in a statement that it did not not envisage material disruption or delay to the works.

The agency said it was “actively monitoring the position in the context of the robust contractual protections provided for under the PPP contract.

“The State is not obliged to make any further payment until the full works and services set out under the contract have been satisfactorily delivered for each school,” the agency added.

The NDFA stated that, in accordance with international best practice, the contract includes detailed provisions that apply in the event of the liquidation of a consortium member to ensure that the project proceeds on a “business as usual” basis with minimal disruption.

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