Sunday 19 January 2020

Subcontractors to prevent new schools opening until outstanding bills settled

Leaving Cert students (stock image)
Leaving Cert students (stock image)

Ryan Nugent and Gavin McLoughlin

SUBCONTRACTORS at a number of new school buildings have insisted they won't allow the schools to open until they are paid money owed to them for doing the job.

A number of entrances at schools in Wexford and Bray were blocked off today – with subcontractors saying they won’t be budging until they receive what they are owed.

The small subcontracting companies had been employed by Sammon Contracting Ireland - who have since gone into liquidation.

Sammon had been contracted by Carillion Construction, who also went bust.

It’s understood around €14m is owed to subcontractors over a number of new school builds.

Offaly man, John Foran (57), runs Emerald Pitch Development and says he is due in the region of €80,000 for building the pitches at Scoil Raithín in Bray.

Mr Foran was outside Scoil Raithín today.

He said that subcontractors want the government to step in and pay them what they are owed.

“All the subcontractors are owed a lot of money, the school in Bray here is all but finished,” he said.

“Sammon are gone, Carrillion are gone, the schools are nearly finished. Everyone wants the schools opened. From a government point of view, they’re pushing ahead and the subcontractors are left swinging in the wind for millions, that’s what we’re owed.

“We’re talking small companies, family businesses,” he added.

In response to the protest, the Department of Education said that while the situation was “regrettable” that they did not enter into any contract with these subcontractors.

“While the situation faced by sub-contractors who have not been paid for work undertaken is very difficult, given that their contractual counterparty is in liquidation, it would be regrettable if there were now further delays in the opening of the schools, given that neither the schools nor the Department of Education and Skills were party to the contracts in question,” a statement read.

“Neither the Department nor the NDFA have information on the detailed contractual and payment arrangements between Sammon and its subcontractors.

“These matters were agreed exclusively between the private parties, as is the norm on any school building or public works contract.  Sammon is now the subject of statutory liquidation proceedings and therefore engagement with Sammon’s creditors is the responsibility of the court appointed liquidator,” it added.

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