independent

Thursday 18 October 2018

Contractor to be appointed to school 'in coming week'

Mary Fogarty

A new contractor is expected to be announced for two vacant schools in Bray in the coming week, according to Minister Simon Harris.

Minister Harris said that he has received the assurance from Dutch Infrastructure Fund, the remaining stakeholder in the construction of Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell. The comments come as subcontractor and tenderer Sammon has gone into liquidation.

Both schools remain closed despite being all but complete. Cllr Joe Behan in Bray said thaat the Government has mismanaged 'the entire debacle' surrounding this issue. 'It has allowed the Dutch Infrastructure Fund and Japanese bankers to take their time to organise the completion of the two north Wicklow schools instead of taking control from the start,' he said.

Uncertainty over whether Sammon would win a joint bid to complete six projects nationally forced Sammon's examiner to seek liquidation.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton asked the High Court last week to wind up the company. Work on the six schools ceased in January, as UK partner Carillion collapsed. Coláiste Ráithín in Bray was days away from opening, with a small amount of work remaining on Ravenswell National School. Minister Harris said that he highlighted the frustrations of the community to the Department of Education and the NDFA who are managing the building of both schools. 'This has been an extremely frustrating few months for people in Bray who have already waited an extraordinarily long time for their much needed new schools,' said the minister. 'Following the collapse of Carillon, it was hoped the building works could continue to completion but unfortunately, renegotiations with the subcontractors brought the project to a standstill.' Following a new tender process, the completion was further delayed by the news of Sammons examinership and liquidation. They acted as chief contractor in the Bray schools prior to the Carillion collapse.

'Although the examinership of Sammon delayed the process again, I am glad to receive confirmation that DIF will announce the new contractor in the next week,' said Mr Harris. Deputy Stephen Donnelly has urged the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to lay out his plans to avoid further delays to the schools caught up in the liquidation of Sammon Group. 'It is disgraceful that two almost complete schools will be left unfinished and unoccupied for further months as this mess is sorted out,' said Deputy Donnelly. 'The time has come for the Minister Bruton to step in, provide some leadership, and get these schools open.'

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