According to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), there will be more incidents like Kilfinane National School if the Government keeps putting the Construction Contracts Bill on the long finger.  925 days have elapsed since the legislation was introduced which should ensure contractors and subcontractors receive proper and prompt payments for their work.

According to the CIF the delay in passing this legislation is increasing the pressure on construction operatives and construction workers, leading to more payment delays at all levels of the industry.

“What we saw at Kilfinane National School is a further example of what is happening in the construction industry throughout the country,” according to CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “Subcontractors and main contractors are having problems securing payments and that is leading to long, unresolved disputes which are putting construction workers under huge financial pressure and stress.

“While we will not condone the taking of materials from any school, subcontractors are being driven to take drastic measures.  On a variety of projects around the country they are going without pay for work they have already done, for materials they have supplied and for the staff they have hired.  The legislative gap is making it very difficult for construction workers at all levels to put bread on the table and look after their families.

“To help prevent these problems arising Senator Fergal Quinn introduced the Construction Contracts Bill on 12th May 2010.  It received cross party support, was championed in all the political party General Election manifestos and the Government committed to enacting it in the Programme for Government.

“Unfortunately 925 days have now elapsed since then – that’s 2 years, 6 months and 25 days.  You’d think that would be a sufficiently long period for any piece of legislation to be agreed, drafted, debated and signed into law.  In some cases there have been Bills passed, enacted and then further amended in such a timeline.  Yet the Construction Contracts Bill shows no sign of progressing.

“The Government has previously promised that the Bill would be passed by September 2011, then by the end of 2011, then before summer 2012, then by September and most lately before the end of 2012.  Yet the latest we are hearing is that it will not reach the next stage of the legislative process until next year.

“To put it bluntly this is an absolute disgraceful display of foot dragging by the Government.  You might be able to understand this kind of inaction if it was a controversial piece of legislation.  But it’s not.  It has cross party support.  All that is missing is the will to enact it.

“I’m sure the Government TDs who represent Kilfinane will be greatly concerned by this issue.  However they are their parties have the power to help prevent these kind of problems arising.  All they need to do is press their Ministerial colleagues to enact a piece of legislation that is ready to go.  Once the Construction Contracts Bill is enacted incidents like those in Kilfinane should be a thing of the past,” Mr. Parlon concluded.