Richard Bruton: State can’t take on collapsed firms’ debt

Education Minister Richard Bruton has said the State cannot intercede and take on the private debts of companies that go into liquidation.

He was commenting after building subcontractors went to a school construction site in Carlow and removed equipment they installed and have not been paid for. They took large railings from the perimeter wall of Tyndall College’s new school building and placed them on a flatbed truck.

Work on five schools stopped in January after UK construction company Carillion went bust. Since then Irish company Sammon Construction has gone into liquidation, leaving subcontractors without being paid.

This is a real problem and we recognise that. From the state’s point of view our obligation is to meet the payments to DIF when they complete the school. But as in any liquidation, the State cannot pick up private debts,” the minister said.

“The position is that the State entered into a PPP contract with DIF which is the remaining holder of that contract. DIF is obliged to complete the schools. It is very regrettable that as a result of the liquidation of Carillion and following that Sammon, a number of sub contractors have been left without payment and many workers have been made redundant.”

At Tyndall College, gardaí stopped the subcontractors from removing more equipment.

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