Subcontractor claims he is owed €8k for school

A school contract payments row was continuing yesterday as one subcontractor remained locked in dispute with the main contractor over the amount paid.

Four subcontractors, who were owed money, placed a blockade at the new €1.7m school in Kilfinane, Co Limerick, on Nov 22.

Seamus Cusack, one of the four involved in the protest, said yesterday he was still owed €8,000 of his €43,000 contract.

The main contractor, Declan Breen of DPB Construction, said the terms of a full and final payment with the four had been agreed after the blockade ended.

However, Mr Cusack said he intends pursuing Mr Breen through legal channels for money he says is still owed.

Mr Breen made two separate payments to the subcontractors following the Nov 22 protest. He claimed at the time they would end up getting as much as 93% of the original contract.

Mr Breen said yesterday the final deal, signed at his offices, meant the subcontractors would get total payments amounting to 60% of their original contracts.

Mr Cusack, who employs five at his Dovetail fitted furniture company in Murroe, Co Limerick, said that to date he had received only €35,000 from DPB for his €43,000 contract.

Mr Cusack said: “Following our protest at the school, he [Declan Breen] gave me an additional €12,000, having already got €23,000. That brought my total payment for the €43,000 contract to €35,000. I am now faced with a loss of €8,000 on that contract at Kilfinane. That is a huge loss for me as my margin is between 3% and 4%.

“The Department of Education are going to complete paying him the full contact for the whole job shortly, but we won’t get anything from that money. I am now going to take legal action to try and get what I am owed.

“This loss of €8,000 would mean that this year I have earned €22,000 for myself, or about €400 a week. That’s working 60 to 70 hours a week. That’s the reality. I have a family and mortgage and this kind of loss is massive.”

The other subcontactors who took part in the protest also received payments from Mr Breen since their action.

Mr Breen said yesterday he had reached “a full and final” settlement with all four subcontractors, which would mean they get 60% of the original contracts.

He said the four had signed up to this deal.

“That is the figure he [Seamus Cusack] agreed,” said Mr Breen, adding that the last payment to one of the four had yet to be finalised.

As part of their protest the subcontractors began removing furniture and doors after arriving in vans at the Kilfinane primary school, which opened in September. On learning of what was happening parents blockaded the entrance with cars.

Following a High Court injunction, the subcontractors returned all the goods.

Four days after the protest, Mr Breen said he agreed to hand over two payments of more than 40% and 20%.

Mr Breen said at the time: “This will mean they will each get up to 93% of the original contract price which in today’s climate is a very good deal. Everybody has been wronging me.”


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