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£650m schools scheme court appeal dismissed

The Department of Education has failed to overturn a High Court order for the setting aside of a procurement procedure surrounding a £650m school modernisation scheme.

Senior judges dismissed an appeal against the decision reached over breaches in a Framework Agreement dealing with tendering for major construction work across Northern Ireland.

They also refused an application to refer the case to the European Court and awarded legal costs to the firm of building contractors who brought an initial case against the department after being excluded from the agreement.

Henry Brothers Ltd of Magherafelt, acting in a consortium with FB McKee & Company Ltd and Woodvale Construction Company Ltd, claimed the process, and particularly how the department awarded places on the framework was fundamentally flawed.

Following the ruling barrister Peter Girvan, appearing for Henry Brothers, urged the court to award legal costs to his client. He said: “We say that across the board our position has been successful.”

The judges agreed to make the award requested, with only the issue of possible damages still to be decided.

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