Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Monday, 12 November 2012

Construction Industry

The SDLP's Joe Byrne made a plea for help for sub-contractors in the construction industry, on 12 November 2012.

Mr Byrne spoke about the situation at the new South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen where, he said, many of the sub-contractors had never been paid.

He was proposing the SDLP motion calling on the Executive to prioritise maintenance and capital spending plans to support the construction industry.

Sandra Overend of the UUP moved her party's amendment calling for increased public private infrastructure projects.

"There is validity in looking for co-operation between the public and private sectors," she said.

Daithi McKay of Sinn Fein referred to job losses at the Ballymena construction firm, Pattons.

He said MLAs had held a meeting with more than 80 concerned subcontractors at Parliament Buildings.

"They can't see a way out of this situation," he said.

Trevor Lunn of Alliance said he feared that Pattons would not be the last big construction firm to be affected.

"I do hear other people mentioned. I certainly wouldn't like to say in public," he commented.

Paul Frew of the DUP said he had often worked alongside people from Pattons when he was an electrician, and had experience of working for a company that went into liquidation.

"I have lived through that along with my colleagues," he said.

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson outlined some of the measures being taken by the Executive to provide help for construction.

He said he had had long discussions with the construction industry about private finance

The minister said construction firms found it hard to access funds from the banks "because they've been bitten by the construction sector".

The motion was carried as amended by the UUP.

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