Council backs down in one of Uniform cases

LIMERICK City Council has decided to drop one of its court actions taken in relation to the Uniform Construction debacle which could cost the taxpayer up to €50 million.

The council is not proceeding with a move to have a case stated in the High Court on specific legal points arising from an arbitrator’s decision which came down on the side of the company.

The arbitrator found that Uniform Construction were wrongly fired from the €240m Limerick Main drainage scheme.

The company won a €9.5m tunnelling contract in 2000 but were fired by the council when they went over budget and behind schedule.

Uniform Construction claimed they were not given proper information by the council on underground rock.

One of the principals was forced to sell off his share in the company, which was barred from tendering for public contracts as a result of the city council’s action.

The High Court in a recent 42 page ruling found that the council was wrong to fire Uniform Construction, upholding decisions by a conciliator and an arbitrator.

The arbitrator has not yet quantified the damages, and is expected to finalise this next March.

Industry sources say that the compensation payout to Uniform Construction could be as high as €50m given the damage caused to their business.

A spokesman for the council said yesterday they still have time to appeal the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court.

But they had decided not to proceed with anther High Court case challenging the arbitrator’s report on specific points of law, through having a case stated.

Limerick City Manager, Tom Mackey has stated that the Department of the Environment was fully informed at all stages about their dealings with Uniform Construction prior to the dismissal of the company.

He said the department at no stage disapproved of their action.

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