Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (245)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

245. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when he intends to publish his amendments to the Construction Contracts Bill. [11404/13]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce new legislation to protect small building subcontractors that have been denied payments from bigger companies. In this regard, I am working with Senator Feargal Quinn to develop the Senator’s private member’s Construction Contracts Bill into a robust piece of legislation. The Bill has passed Second Stage in the Dáil.

During the Second Stage reading of the Bill, I signalled to the House my intention to bring proposals to Government on Committee Stage amendments dealing with issues that would include:

- Thresholds: In order to ensure that the legislation applies to the majority of Construction Contracts the scope of the legislation will be broadened by reducing or removing the current monetary thresholds contained in the Bill.

- Adjudication:  This issue of making adjudication awards binding for both the public and private sectors is a complex issue.  It is important to strike the right balance between giving this legislation the necessary enforcement provisions, whilst ensuring that the application of the legislation is equitable and the taxpayer is safeguarded.

 When these and a number of other issues have been examined, I will shortly bring proposals to Government in advance of Committee Stage. This is an important piece of legislation aimed at creating a more level playing field between contractor and subcontractor in the construction sector. Therefore it is essential that these complex issues are properly assessed so as to avoid imposing unnecessary regulatory or cost burdens on parties in dispute, the State or others.