Belfast Telegraph

Subcontractors ‘face wall of silence’ over unpaid money for work on schools

Carillion was hired under a public private partnership between the state and the National Development Finance Agency.

Subcontractors who are owed a substantial amount of money for work carried out on schools in Wexford and Co Wicklow have said they are facing a “wall of silence” as they fight for answers.

The subcontractors have not been paid following the collapse of UK construction firm Carillion in January.

Up to 30 workmen, including scaffolders and landscapers, took part in a picket line in Bray and Wexford town on Monday.

The entrance to the site was blocked with tractors, trailers and company vans.

The affected schools are Loreto Secondary School in Wexford and Colaiste Raithin and Ravenswell primary schools in Bray, which are set to open ahead of the new school year in September.

Carillion was hired under a public private partnership (PPP) between the state and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

After Carillion collapsed, it subcontracted the work to Irish firm Sammon Construction, however it went into liquidation in June.

Lar Conway, who owns Conway Piling, said his company is owed 40,000 euro after carrying out work in Bray and Wexford.

Mr Conway said the loss of earnings will have a detrimental impact on his firm.

We are trying to get answers in relation to retention money and an outstanding invoice for extra work that was done in November Lar Conway, Conway Piling

“We are trying to get answers in relation to retention money and an outstanding invoice for extra work that was done in November,” he said.

“We haven’t been paid for that despite being promised we would.

“My office has been on to multiple people and we are getting no answers on any outstanding money.

“That invoice is for 10,000 euro and retention money is 30,000 euro.

“We have been in touch with NDFA but we have been told there won’t be cent left to give out to anyone from the Sammon collapse.

“I would like to see someone of authority engaging with us and tell us what is happening regarding payments.

“It’s been a wall of silence.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said it was aware of the ongoing difficulties and described it as a “regrettable” situation.

“While the situation faced by these subcontractors is regrettable, it must be emphasised that the Department of Education and Skills is not, and was not, party to any contract with these subcontractors,” the spokeswoman said.

The department said the subcontractors’ relationship was with Sammon, which had been contracted by Carillion Construction Ltd, the main contractor under the PPP arrangement.

The statement added that at the end of December 2017, Carillion Construction Ltd confirmed to the NDFA, which procured the project on behalf of the state, that Sammon had been paid in full in accordance with the contract to that point and that there were no issues arising.

“Neither the department nor the NDFA have information on the detailed contractual and payment arrangements between Sammon and its subcontractors,” the spokeswoman added.

The department added that while the situation facing the subcontractors is “very difficult”, it would be “regrettable” if there were further delays in the opening of schools.

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