Fer­moy Coláiste ex­ten­sion must be made a pri­or­ity

ED­U­CA­TION MIN­STER URGED TO ACT SWIFTLY TO AVOID ANY FUR­THER DE­LAYS TO THE €5.9 MIL­LION PROJECT

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

NEW and de­tailed pro­pos­als for the com­ple­tion of the multi-mil­lion Euro ex­ten­sion to Coláiste an Chraoib­hín in Fer­moy must be put in place as soon as pos­si­ble so as to avoid any fur­ther de­lays to the project.

That’s ac­cord­ing to Fianna Fail Cork county coun­cil­lor Padraig O’Sul­li­van, who said that there is now a gen­uine con­cern within the lo­cal com­mu­nity that the new build­ing will not be ready to open in time for the new school year in Septem­ber.

Since the sod on the new €5.9 mil­lion ex­ten­sion was turned in Novem­ber 2015, the project has been dogged by de­lays, with work com­ing to a com­plete stop last month after it emerged the con­struc­tion com­pany un­der­tak­ing the project had gone into ex­am­in­er­ship.

The High Court’s ap­point­ment of an in­terim ex­am­iner to the Kil­dare-based Sam­mon Con­tract­ing Group came about fol­low­ing the liq­ui­da­tion of the UK firm Car­il­lion, which had hired the Ir­ish com­pany to build sev­eral ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties in Ire­land.

Work also ground to a stand­still at the other projects around the coun­try be­ing un­der­taken by Sam­mon, in­clud­ing the ex­ten­sion to St Col­man’s Col­lege in Mi­dle­ton.

While the news was greeted with much con­cern in Fer­moy, the Cork Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Board (CETB) said it had com­menced the process of re-ten­der­ing for the com­ple­tion of the project with the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills de­sign team to “ex­pe­dite the process to en­sure the school ex­ten­sion would be com­pleted”.

CETB chief ex­ec­u­tive Ted Owens was un­able to say when work on the Fer­moy project would recom­mence, How­ever, he did say it was the boards in­ten­tion to get the project com­pleted “as soon as pos­si­ble.”

While the ex­ten­sion is un­der­stood to be more than 90% com­plete, a thor­ough as­sess­ment of the build­ing will have to be un­der­taken be­fore work can restart in order to en­sure it com­plies with safety stan­dards and reg­u­la­tions.

Cllr O’Sul­li­van, who was re­cently added to the party’s ticket to con­test the next gen­eral elec­tion in Cork East along­side sit­ting TD Kevin O’Ke­effe, is a teacher at Coláiste an Chraoib­hín.

He called on Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Richard Bru­ton to im­me­di­ately set out a “de­tailed plan” to put the Fer­moy project is put back on track.

“We need to see strong ac­tion from the Min­is­ter to en­sure there are no fur­ther de­lays to this ex­ten­sion. This whole saga also highlights the need for a bet­ter sys­tem to make sure that sub­con­trac­tors get paid for the work they carry out on State funded projects,” said Cllr O’Sul­li­van.

He said Min­is­ter Bru­ton needed to set out ex­actly what his De­part­ment was do­ing to get the project mov­ing again.

“This sim­ply can­not be al­lowed to drag on in­def­i­nitely, said Cllr O’Sul­li­van.

“It has been nearly six months since the col­lapse of Car­il­lion and while we all hoped that the Sam­mon Group could get through this cri­sis in­tact, Min­is­ter Bru­ton should have, nonethe­less, been pre­par­ing a con­tin­gency plan,” he added.

The al­most com­pleted ex­ten­sion at Coláiste an Chraoib­hín in Fer­moy.

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