Minister of State for Small Business John Perry was in Kilkenny last week, but he did not visit the abandoned building site at Loreto Secondary School, nor did he make any substantive comment regarding the local businesses still suffering since the cessation of work there almost a month ago.
When asked what could be done to help the struggling local sub-contractors – who have been left almost €600,000 out of pocket – the Fine Gael TD said he did not know the details of the case and therefore could not discuss it.
“I couldn’t comment on that case, because I’m not knowledge based on it,” said Minister Perry, who is also the chair of the Advisory Group for Small Business (AGSB).
“But there is legislation coming in for sub-supplier contracts that would deal with it. That’s been proposed in Government. But no matter what operation you do, you will have casualites unfortunately, regrettably.”
Sub-contractors were left high and dry in October when contractor McCann Bros Ltd ceased trading, having withdrawn its equipment from the school extension project.
Minister Perry was speaking at an SME business event in Kilkenny, where over 500 representatives gathered to discuss procurements opportunities with public sector buyers.
The Fine Gael TD was also questioned regarding the lack of IDA activity in Kilkenny in recent years. In the last decade, Kilkenny has had just eight potential investor visits, compared to Cork’s 221 and Louth’s 85 in the same period.
“IDA would be foreign-direct investment, but we have been very successful with the recent job announcements by foreign direct companies,” he said.
“Minister Bruton is in Canada this week. But the IDA investment, if you look, there has been at an unprecedented level of new jobs created by foreign direct investment.”