Sub-contractors who worked with troubled construction firm Patton are owed nearly £15m, it's been claimed.
The Ballymena firm, whose interests ranged from home building to museum renovation and shop-fitting, went into administration last week citing "extremely challenging" trading conditions.
The family-owned company had a range of projects in England and Scotland, including the refurbishment of John Lewis stores and work on Lews Castle near Stornoway. However, work on some contracts has stopped since the administrators were called in exactly one week ago.
Ulster Unionist economy spokeswoman Sandra Overend said she met sub-contractors yesterday after they visited Stormont to press a case for government help on MLAs, Invest NI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
The Mid-Ulster MLA said the administration of Patton had "badly affected a number of small and medium businesses totalling over 2,000 employees and who are owed nearly £15m from Pattons".
It's understood administrators Keenan CF are still gathering information from suppliers and sub-contractors on how much they are owed by the company.
Ms Overend said: "Many of these sub-contractors told us that they have contracts on their books but their problem is survival in the short term due to the loss of contracts related to the Patton group.
"The sub-contractors vented their frustration that under the insolvency legislation the banks will receive the money owed to them first and the sub-contractors will be paid last, and they called on the department to explore the possibility of financial assistance."
She said the companies were due to set up a sub-committee to liaise with the Assembly's all-party group on construction.