Quinn concerned over contractors

Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 00:00

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has expressed concern about subcontractors not being paid for school building contracts.

He was a speaking as a Co Limerick school reopened this morning after the building was stripped of doors and other fittings by a number of subcontractors who claim they have not been paid for work they carried out.

“ I am very concerned at the way in which some school building contracts……have resulted in subcontractors who have done work for which they have not been paid,” Mr Quinn said

Mr Quinn said he had some discussions at his department about how this could best be dealt with.

Workers who claimed they were owed up to €20,000 each moved into Kilfinane National School shortly after 2.30pm yesterday and turned off the power and neutralised the central heating system.

A standoff developed outside the school yesterday. Parents arrived and a High Court injunction was eventually secured by the school, preventing the workers from removing the seized property.

The standoff was resolved shortly after 9pm.

Principal Siobhan O’Flynn said the tradesmen agreed to return and replace all the items taken from the school.

"School for us will continues as normal," Ms O'Flynn told RTÉ Radio this morning. "From here on in the dispute is between the contractor and the subcontractor," she added.

Ms O’Flynn said a resolution was reached after the subcontractors were given assurances by the Department of Education over contracts in relation to the newly built school.

Gardaí attended the scene yesterday, where dozens of determined parents and teachers erected a blockade preventing a number of vans from leaving the school grounds.

“When school finished at 2.40pm and the children left there were about seven subcontractors standing outside.

“One rushed in and let the others in via a back door and they started taking doors from the class rooms and coat hangers were taken from walls and a number of sliding doors over cupboards,” explained deputy school principal Maura O’Connell.

Subcontractors who worked on the €1.7 million school, which was finished in September, say they are owed money from the main contractor, Declan Breen of DBP Construction, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, which the department says it paid for the job.

DBP Construction said the company had no comment.