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Video: Builders remove fittings and cut power at school in dispute over unpaid bills

A STAND-OFF between tradesmen and staff at a primary school has ended after subcontractors removed fittings and cut the power at the building in a dispute over unpaid bills.

Fifteen workmen forced their way into Kilfinane national school in Limerick as school ended yesterday afternoon and began dismantling work recently completed.

The subcontractors said they had to take the drastic action at the school becuase they claim they are owed up to €140,000 by DPB Construction.

Doors, whiteboards, furniture and shelving was all removed by the electricians and joiners in front of shocked staff.

Teachers and parents collecting their children refused to allow the subcontractors leave the grounds of Kilfinane national school by sitting in front of the workers' vans.

Scoil Fhionain was last night granted a High Court injunction instructing the subcontractors to leave the school grounds and not to take any property. The notice was served on the tradesmen by school staff and the stand off continued until just after 9pm.

Following consultations between the subcontractors and the school, a resolution ended the dispute and all property was returned to the school.

The Limerick school promised to make representations on behalf of the subcontractors to the education department. Power was restored to the school last night and the school will open as normal today.

The school was completed at a cost of €1.7m and opened last September. The subcontractors were employed by DPB construction from Tipperary and claim they are each owed between €14,000 and €21,000.

There was no comment from DPB construction last night.

School principal Siobhan O'Flynn said: "It's been a very gruelling day for everyone but we expect to have all the children at their desks and teachers in place tomorrow."

Self employed electrician Mike Browne – a father of seven – said he is owed €14,000. "We have to do this to show what is happening. It is going on around the country," he said.

The education department said they were deeply concerned to hear of damage being caused to the school and said all money have been paid to the main contractor.

Irish Independent