N7/M7 Contractors block motorway access over dispute with Laois County Council and NRA

Access to the new M7/N7 motorway from Mountrath, Co. Laois to Nenagh, Co Tipperary has been blocked by a number of contractors who have been temporarily laid off by KC Civil Engineering and Cappawhite Plant Hire Ltd. The unofficial strike is blocking access for work vehicles along the road at the Borris-in-Ossory, Roscrea, Moneygall and Nenagh interchanges. The action has been taken by the contractors due to a dispute over payment owed for work completed.

Alan Jones, who has been temporarily laid off from KC Civil Engineering explained to us what is happening. “We all work for KC Civil Engineering and Cappawhite Plant Hire Ltd. and have been placed on temporary layoff as the companies do not have the funds to pay our wages. KC has a number of disputes with the Main Contractor, Bowen Somague Joint Venture, who in turn have a dispute with Laois County Council and the NRA. Laois County Council and the NRA are refusing to settle the dispute even though a conciliator has found against them. They are now forcing the Main Contractor to go to arbitration which could take 2 to 3 years to get settled. Whilst the Portugese Main Contractor with an annual turnover of €4 billion can afford to wait the same is not the case for the Irish Sub-Contractors and Suppliers that have actually carried out this work. These various companies cannot afford to wait 2 to 3 years and will be gone out of business in the meantime whilst in 2 or 3 years the majority of the money that is realised will end up in Portugal. All this because Laois County Council, the NRA and the Government do not want to settle a minor debt. Surely this is symptomatic of the government not being able to see the wood from the trees. All the Irish jobs that are at risk and the lengthening of the dole queues. This is not right and nobody is prepared to act on behalf of the Government to tell both the NRA and Laois County Council to sort out this mess so that the workers can be paid.”

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