Construction company goes into receivership

ONE of the country’s largest building companies, McNamara Construction, has gone into receivership – putting a number of major construction projects around the country on hold and threatening the future of thousands of sub-contractor employees.

The company had been liasing with NAMA over a business plan which was rejected. It is understood the receiver, Farrow Grant Sparks, was put in place on Thursday night following the collapse of the plan.

Pat Harte had been doing work for McNamara Construction at the Tallaght Institute of Technology. He was due to receive €50,000 yesterday and was owed €200,000 in total.

“We are a sub-contractor doing all the groundwork on site since July. We have 95% of our contract complete, materials placed and the jobs done. The first half of my cheque was due today and I was talking to the quantity surveyor at McNamaras at 4pm on Thursday and he told me the cheque had gone through and that I would have money today. Then at 6.30pm he rang back and said the company had gone into receivership. We came up here looking for answers. The receivers had security on site.”

He told RTÉ radio, with the receiver in place, the revenue bills and legal bills would be covered and sub-contractors would go to the bottom of the list when being paid the money they are owed.

Last night construction industry sources said they were not shocked Michael McNamara Construction was in difficulty – they said the only surprise was that it came so soon after the woes of Pierce Construction became public.

The source said the divide between construction groups who took the risk of building up extravagant property portfolios and those who confined themselves to contracting was becoming clear.

Martin Whelan, director of policy and research at the Construction Industry Federation, said the CIF’s immediate concern was for the sub-contractors exposed as a result of the situation MacNamara found itself in. While McNamara only had approximately 100 direct employs many more were employed by sub-contractors which it used to complete its projects. Among the developments McNamara is currently involved in are the humanities and social research and the science research buildings at NUIG, a medical block at Letterkenny General Hospital and the Point Village.

“We believe it would be absolutely wrong to generalise about the entire construction industry as a result of individual cases,” said Martin Whelan.

He also called for support of the Contracting Construction Bill, introduced by Senator Feargal Quinn and progressing through the Oireachtas.

That bill would create enforceable stage payments to sub-contractors in a project allied to a quick, accessible adjudication system to deal with situations where there was a row.

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