I propose to take Questions Nos. 509 and 519 together.
A number of social housing projects with the same main contractor have been impacted when the contractor ceased operation on site. I understand that since then, an interim examiner has been appointed in the case of the contractor concerned.
It is the local authorities and approved housing bodies who are the contracting parties in the cases of the social housing projects and they are therefore dealing directly with the issues arising from the main contractor discontinuing construction work on these sites and are taking the appropriate steps to re-tender the projects, where necessary, and have them completed as soon as possible.
Precautionary measures are always taken to safeguard public construction projects, including assessing a tenderer's financial and economic standing as part of procurement. Thereafter, public contracts should be actively and effectively managed and monitored by contracting authorities. Notwithstanding these steps, it can still happen that a contractor can stop operating giving rise to an unavoidable element of delay. This has happened before with social housing projects and the local authorities and housing associations have undertaken the appropriate steps that are needed in such situations and moved to complete the projects. I can confirm that funding support from my Department continues to be available for all the social housing projects impacted in this case, and it is the intention of the local authorities and approved housing bodies, with the support of my Department, to secure the full completion of the housing as soon as possible.
As Minister, I have no role in the commercial operations or decisions of the private company concerned and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this aspect.