ROADBRIDGE’s entry into receivership poses “massive concern” for its staff and subcontractors and ‘huge uncertainty’ for future projects.

Based in Limerick, Roadbridge on March 11th announced it was to enter receivership. It has a staff of 630 with a further 1,000 subcontractor and agency workers. Many of these employees are from Clare and living in the county.

On top of mounting trade liabilities, Roadbridge which is one of the country’s biggest civil engineering and construction firms owes an estimated €30-35m to its main creditor Bank of Ireland. Founded by Pat Mulcair in 1967 and incorporated as a company in 1999, it was involved in some of the biggest infrastructural road, energy and water projects in Ireland the UK and Europe.

Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) stated, “There is massive concern among those who rely on Roadbridge for their income and the fallout to this will be significant. I hope the best possible terms can be struck so that Roadbridge’s staff are looked after but also the many subcontractors that are on their books, who now have a huge amount of uncertainty about their projects”.

SIPTU has secured financial supports from the Department of Social Protection for members made redundant after Roadbridge was placed in receivership. SIPTU representatives have also contacted the Construction Workers Pension Scheme concerning the continued protection of the workers’ pension, death in service and sick pay allowances.

“We await a response from it on this matter. SIPTU members in Roadbridge are mainly employed in the outdoor construction grades,” said SIPTU Organiser, Stephen Lewis. “That these workers, some with more than 30 years’ service at the company, have been left dependent on the state insolvency fund to secure their minimum redundancy entitlements, is disgraceful”.

He added, “We are calling on the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to encourage the Receiver to identify other companies which could take over the €700 million in unfinished capital projects on the Roadbridge order books. Such a move could save a considerable number of jobs and the associated costs of activating the state insolvency fund to provide for the redundancy payments for the 625 workers who are losing their jobs.”

Questions marks are also circulating on the future of projects which already had commenced work, Deputy Crowe flagged. This includes “Phase 1 of the Limerick Northern Distributor Road from Tesco at Coonagh to Knockalisheen in my home village of Meelick. Up until now, it has been full steam ahead with that and it’s been expected to near completion in August. It’s absolutely essential now that all efforts are made to ensure that the ball isn’t dropped. I’ve been in touch with Minister Eamon Ryan and the Department of Transport on this and will be pushing for swift action to be taken to ensure no delays”.

Crowe continued, “The two priorities now are first and foremost to look after the workers and subcontractors and make sure that nobody left strung out, and that those owed money receive it. The next priority is that we must work to ensure projects continue and as close to their original timeline as possible and these must be priorities for the government”.

Representatives of the Moyross Residents Forum have stated that they have received assurances the project will proceed but to expect delays.

Government intervention to prevent the job losses has been sought by Clare TD, Michael McNamara (IND). “The Government needs to do everything possible to protect the firm to ensure it can trade its way out of current difficulties and pay the many subcontractors and suppliers across Clare who are owed substantial sums of money”.

“When the Goodman Group was threatened in the 1990s, the Dáil was recalled by a Haughey-led government to pass legislation introducing examinership due to the repercussions across the wider economy. If Roadbridge, one of the country’s biggest civil engineering and construction firms, enters liquidation there will be similar widespread consequences across the Mid-West given the number of subcontractors and suppliers affected. A large number of jobs are in jeopardy due to the potential for knock on effects. I would therefore support Eamon Ryan’s call on Friday that the company be protected, and the Government must do everything possible to achieve this,” McNamara added.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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