Seanad debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Adjournment Matters

Construction Contracts Legislation

4:00 pm

Photo of Brian HayesBrian Hayes (Dublin South West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank Senator Heffernan for raising this issue. I am aware of the case to which he referred in Kilfinane, County Limerick and the circumstances surrounding the subcontractors on the national school project there. It emphasises the need to swiftly enact this legislation and if I can be as bold as to say, it is not for the want of trying on my part.

That is a shift in the responsibilities and there is a sense of frustration on my part that we have not made more progress.

The Bill in question is not a Government Bill, but one put forward by Senator Quinn. The Government has accepted the Bill and it has concluded Second Stage in the Dáil. I have set out the areas of it on which I intend to bring amendments on Committee Stage and I hope that by early in the new year the Government will have agreed to those amendments, through the Office of the Attorney General and the Department. This will allow me take the Bill to Committee Stage as soon as possible and on to Report Stage and then back to this House to where it started over two and a half years ago.

I wish to acknowledge the work of Senator Quinn, who has been a partner with me in trying to get this Bill on the Statute Book. I had a meeting recently with representatives of the construction industry and I outlined to them the new timetable we have for the passage of this Bill early in the new year. The case in Kilfinane highlights the need for this legislation. Although the Bill will not have retrospective effect with regard to cases that happened some years ago, it will have effect from when it is enacted. We must ensure the rules and procedures are right for subcontractors.

Last summer, we had a full regulatory impact statement on the legislation, when all of the interested players, on the supplier and construction side, large and small, worked with me and spokespersons to work out a number of amendments. As a result of that regulatory impact statement, I have given commitments to the Dáil with regard to amendments on thresholds and adjudication. I want to go ahead with this Bill, but the problem is getting the time to do it and I am frustrated that we have not made more progress on it.

I wish to assure the Senator that the Government intends to get the Bill over the line as soon as possible. I hope to be back to this House early in the new year to report progress on the Bill so that it can be enacted and so that a case like the one that occurred in Kilfinane will never happen again. With regard to the particular case to which the Senator has referred today, I am not sure the Act, if it was in place, would make a difference. My officials have said it would not have applied because of the circumstances, but that highlights even further the need to make progress on this.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.