Firms threaten to block €10m site

Subcontractors owed thousands of euro are threatening to blockade the site of a major new Pepsi development in Cork following the main contractor on the €10m project going into liquidation.

Brian McCarthy Contractors Ltd were the main builders on the project, but last week they ceased trading “due to the unavailability of profitable work”.

A number of sub-contractors have already supplied Brian McCarthy Contractors with building materials and labour worth hundreds of thousands of euro, for which they are now unlikely to receive payment.

One sub-contractor, who is owed nearly €100,000, said he only took on the project as there was a large multinational, backed by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), involved.

“When we saw that Pepsi were involved, we believed that we couldn’t get caught,” said the contractor, who did not want to be named.

Pepsi is understood to be eager to complete the building works and has asked some contractors to return to the site directly.

However, those that are still owed money are threatening to blockade the site if there is any attempt to complete work before they are fully reimbursed.

A spokesperson for Pepsi said the company was trying to resolve the situation.

“We are in contact with the relevant bodies and are working to resolve this situation as soon as possible.

“We are unable to comment further at this time.”

The expansion of Pepsi’s research division was announced less than 12 months ago by the Enterprise Minister, Richard Bruton.

Mr Bruton’s office and the IDA both said that they had no involvement in the contracts at the centre of the dispute.

The chief executive of the Irish Concrete Federation, Gerry Farrell, said that the biggest danger that any contractor faces is supplying materials to a site.

“When you supply materials to a project you are taking your business life in your hands.

“There is legislation in other countries to protect sub-contractors; we need the same here,” he said.

Mr Farrell said that a construction contractors’ bill had been languishing in the Dáil for over a year while sub-contractors were being squeezed in the real world.

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