Two cases against Irish Asphalt over pyrite settled out of court

Construction firm accepts there was no basis for any claim for deceit or fraud

The Four Courts in Dublin. James Elliott Construction has ended two legal cases against Lagan Group subsidiary Irish Asphalt. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The Four Courts in Dublin. James Elliott Construction has ended two legal cases against Lagan Group subsidiary Irish Asphalt. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

James Elliott Construction (JEC) has ended two cases against Lagan Group subsidiary Irish Asphalt arising from a dispute over pyrite damage after the pair reached out of court agreements.

JEC was suing Irish Asphalt for deceit in the commercial court, claiming among other things that the defendant knew that products it supplied to the construction company contained excessive amounts of pyrites. Irish Asphalt had always denied the claim.

The builder’s lawyer, Bill Shipsey SC, asked Ms Justice Caroline Costelloe on Thursday to dismiss the case. He said JEC accepted that there was no basis for any claim for “deceit, misrepresentation or fraud”.

Mr Shipsey added that JEC would be making a contribution to Irish Asphalt’s costs.

JEC had also petitioned the High Court to appoint a liquidator to Irish Asphalt, over an alleged unpaid debt of more than €2.4 million.

Irish Asphalt, its directors and a related company, Lagan Holdings Ltd, had opposed the application.

Patrick Leonard SC, for JEC, told Mr Justice Tony O’Connor that the case had been resolved. As a result the petition could be withdrawn and the proceedings struck out.

Mediation

Irish Asphalt’s lawyer, John Gleeson SC, acknowledged that mediation had helped resolve the proceedings. Mr Justice O’Connor agreed to strike out the case.

The debt at the centre of the winding-up petition relates to a High Court judgment it obtained against the company in 2011.

The case arose because Irish Asphalt supplied stone containing too much pyrite to JEC, which the builder used in the Ballymun Central Youth Facility in Dublin.

Excessive amounts of pyrite in construction materials can damage and weaken buildings. JEC had to repair the youth facility, built as part of the Ballymun Regeneration Project.

JEC subsequently took a number of actions against Irish Asphalt and associated Lagan Group companies.

Irish Asphalt welcomed the dismissal of JEC’s deceit claim. The company said that JEC’s acknowledgement that there was no basis for any claim of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation vindicated Irish Asphalt’s directors’ position that the case had no foundation.

“The entire situation with regard to pyrite has been extremely regrettable and Irish Asphalt Ltd acknowledges the severe difficulties that have been caused to many homeowners as a result,” it said.

The firm added that no one, quarry companies, builders, insurers or the Government had foreseen the problem.

Irish Asphalt pointed out that recent pyrite cases involving other well-known building materials suppliers underscored the problem’s widespread and unforeseen nature.