Work on the €40 million county hall in Wexford and a €20 million civic square in Gorey is expected to be completed by the county council, following the collapse of Pierse Contracting.
A liquidator was appointed to Pierse Contracting and Pierse Building Services by the High Court recently, as the group had a deficit of €212 million. The court heard the companies owed €51.5 million to unsecured creditors, many of whom are sub-contractors and suppliers.
The firm began work on the new Wexford county hall in early 2008 and was due to complete the landmark building overlooking the Slaney in mid-2009.
The 10,500sq m (108,000sq ft) building was designed by NORD Architecture. The iconic design provides space for a new council chamber, a double-glazed 'skin' providing natural ventilation, a staff restaurant, executive tea rooms and an internal 'street' with sweeping views of the river. Each desk in the building was to be positioned to afford workers magnificent views.
However, delays dogged the project, which is now understood to be structurally complete, but remains to be fitted out internally.
Also incomplete are aspects of the new civic square in Gorey. Work began in August 2007 and was due to be completed by December 2008. The scheme included a new town square with offices for the county and town councils, a public library, courthouse, adult education centre, health service units and a small number of apartments, many of which were for the elderly.
The new courthouse and adult education centre have opened, but the civic offices, the apartments and the library have not.
Gorey town councillor and Wexford county councillor Malcolm Byrne said that he had been informed by council management that it would now move to finish the projects itself. “This would bring closure to the many delays which have affected the new county hall and civic square,” he said.
Cllr Byrne said council staff were operating out of substandard accommodation currently, while library staff in Gorey were in a similar situation. He also said the delays hampered services to the general public. “But I think the subcontractors are the ones who have been hurt the most,” he added.
Uncertainty also surrounds a number of other Pierse projects around the country, including the €48 million Boherboy water services scheme for South Dublin County Council.
The Irish Times