Cork East TD’s say Midleton and Fermoy Colleges must be Completed as a Matter of Urgency

By Seamus Whelehan


Two Cork East TD’s, Fianna Fail’s Kevin O’Keeffe and Labour’s Sean Sherlock, have urged the Minister for Education to ensure that St Colman’s Community College, Midleton and Coláiste Chraoibhin, Fermoy are completed immediately.
Both schemes are to facilitate an increase in school population-in St Colman’s to 1,000 pupils and 800 in Fermoy.
Construction at both sites stopped last month when Sammon Construction Ireland Limited (SCIL) sought the protection of the High Court following the collapse of British firm, Carillion.
Carillion owe Sammon a reported €8million which, in turn, meant that SCIL could not pay some of its contractors.
The British firm had a contract with the Government to deliver educational facilities here, and had subcontracted Salmon to construct five schools and a college under the Public Private Partnership.
Sammon also had a contract for 4 Non-Public Private Partnership schools, which both East Cork schools are part of.
SCIL told the High Court that the collapse of the British firm had a devastating impact on its ability to carry out its other projects.
On 8 May Cork Educational Training Board (ETB) terminated both contracts with Sammon, after talks with the Department of Education and representatives for the Examiner, broke down.
There is significant work to be completed in Fermoy, with St Colman’s Community College estimated to be 80% complete.
Deputy O’Keeffe said that, while both projects were started under the previous Government’s Rapid Build Programme, it was ironic that they are a year and a half behind schedule. As a result, students in Fermoy are being sent back to a school which they left 30 years ago, that has major health and safety issues which need addressing.
Labour’s Sean Sherlock said the latest developments are worrying and urged that both schemes be completed “post haste.”
“It’s a very serious matter causing a great degree of worry, because the ETB are saying they will put in place additional accommodation for September 2018 if necessary.”
Speaking in the Dáil earlier this week the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, confirmed that his Department is now rebidding both stalled projects following the failed talks.
The Minister said “all efforts are being focused on attaining the quickest outcomes possible.”