Subcontrators owed for work on Tralee bypass

Kerry County Council meeting told small firms being put out of business

Twenty-five small to medium subcontractors are owed substantial money by construction giant BAM for work on the Tralee bypass.

Twenty-five small to medium subcontractors are owed substantial money by construction giant BAM for work on the Tralee bypass.

Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 01:00

Twenty-five small to medium subcontractors are owed substantial money by construction giant BAM for work on the Tralee bypass, one of the few major national road projects to have gone ahead in recent years.

The small firms are being put out of business as a result, a meeting of Kerry County Council has been told. The issue was raised by way of emergency motion yesterday.

The Tralee bypass was opened officially in August. BAM, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Dutch global giant Royal BAM, had been paid €28.6 million of the more than €30 million construction costs already agreed in the tender process, the meeting heard.

Opened during the annual Rose of Tralee festival, it connects four of the five national routes – the N21, N22, N69, and N70 – that finish in Tralee.

Kerry county manager Tom Curran said he had sympathy with small contractors. Legislation was promised but had not yet been enacted.

“BAM are a substantial company,” he said. “They are involved in projects all over the country . . . They made substantial profits in the past 12 months, yet they hold small contractors in this county to ransom. We have no difficulty in paying BAM but we will not pay them over the odds.”

Raised by way of emergency motion by Jim Finucane (FG, Tralee), the meeting heard how €1.5 million was being held back for three years as was standard procedure in case of problems with construction.

After the meeting, BAM issued a statement saying it was seeking a meeting with the council and assured subcontractors that they would be paid.

It said there had been “a significant number” of variations and extras and said both the council and the NRA were slow in dealing with these.