The news that administrators have been appointed to Patton Group is a massive blow to their employees and the people of Ballymena, the construction industry in Northern Ireland and, perhaps most worryingly, the local economy.
The scale of the challenges facing the local construction industry since 2007 made it somewhat inevitable that one of the largest players would become a casualty. The signs have been ominous as established companies like Carvills and Kennedys fell but with a £120m turnover the Patton Group are by far the largest local construction company to go into administration.
Five years ago local industry output was £3bn per annum. Now it is £2bn. The industry falling that much, that fast, has had grave consequences. Around 25,000 have lost their job in construction and due its economic multiplier effect, impact on other sectors of the economy has been profound.
The sad news is the clearest message yet to the NI Executive that it is time to take radical action to get more building and civil engineering projects on the ground and in doing so, lead us out of recession.