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Ministers examine Controlled claims

NEWS - Out of pocket Irish subbies raise stakes on Ballymun demolition job

TWO IRISH ministers are heading an investigation into claims that a string of subcontractors were left out of pocket on Ireland's largest regeneration project when Controlled Demolition went into administration.

Controlled worked on a £4 million contract to demolish the 15-storey McDonagh Tower as part of the £1.7 billion Ballymun regeneration project in Dublin.

Last month Controlled Demolition went into administration and its name and assets were sold to Linkway Manufacturing owner Richard Burt for £1.93 million.

Client Ballymun Regeneration said it paid the contractor for its work, except for a £40,000 retention, but now 15 subcontractors are claiming they were not paid.

Michael Martin, minister for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, has ordered an investigation by the Irish Government's company law enforcement body, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Noel Ahern, minister for the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is monitoring the legal implications of the investigation closely.

The inquiry is expected to determine whether Irish company law was broken.

The subcontractors met Dublin North West MP Pat Carey to ask him to fight their case. Mr Carey received information and statements from 15 companies that claim they are owed money.

Mr Carey said: 'We are anxious to establish whether Irish company law was infringed and we are hoping to discover there is a loophole somewhere.' Subcontractors are angry because they believe a UK-based company should not be allowed to leave Irish firms on the brink of ruin on a Government-funded project.

Controlled's creditors each received a letter from administrator Ernst & Young last month informing them the company had gone into administration.

The firm declined to comment.