Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Small Business and Regulatory Framework, John McGuinness TD, has called on the Government to immediately pass the Construction Contracts Bill 2010 so hard-pressed sub-contractors can finally get some statutory support.
The Bill has passed through the Dáil and Seanad but must now go to committee stage before it is signed into law. However, Deputy McGuinness says as long as the Bill isn’t enshrined into law the worse the situation will get for sub-contractors.
Deputy McGuinness commented: “This Bill has been in the parliamentary process since 2010 and it is about time it was signed into law. The Bill gives hope to the thousands of sub-contractors out there who have been left out of pocket by the collapse of the construction industry. Sub-contractors are often self-employed and have no social welfare to fall back on. This makes the case for this Bill to be written into law all the more powerful.
“Minister of State Brian Hayes needs to take direct action and speed up this process. Two years is too long to be waiting for this; sub-contractors are on the brink and many won’t survive much longer without the protection this Bill offers. When a construction firm gets into difficulty, the first people to lose out are the sub-contractors. I haven’t met any sub-contractor who hasn’t lost out in some degree as banks monopolise the assets of companies in difficulty.
“The Bill introduces a new regime to aid sub-contractors by introducing an interim payment and it brings in new statutory rights for sub-contractors in the industry. The Bill also sets up a new adjudication system to arbitrate on disputes in this area.
“The main purpose of this Bill is to provide for a mechanism whereby prior notice of an intention to withhold payments due to contractors must be given. Not having this Bill in law is causing great distress and movement on the Bill is needed immediately.