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The Construction Contracts Bill is a piece of legislation aimed an improving the process of payments within the construction industry. It seeks to remove the possibility of payments beingwithheld for extended periods of time. The latest version of the Bill can be read here.
The explanatory memorandum for the Bill describes the legislation as follows.
“The main purpose of this Bill is to provide for a mechanism whereby prior notice of an intention to withhold sums from payments otherwise due must be given. Otherwise, payments must be made in full and/or the payee may suspend the provision of works and/or services under the construction contract until payment is made in full. This provision is proposed in ease of persons along the chain in the construction sector who may suffer unduly where an entity under a superior contract would find itself withholding payment unilaterally without cause. This would bear unfairly upon the payee or others dependent upon the payee. Ideally this measure would be linked to wider provision in respect of construction contracts including a more rapid and effective means of dispute settlement. However, that could be considered at a later point in time.”
The Bill was introduced as a Private Members Bill by Senator Feargal Quinn on the 12th May 2010. At the time of its introduction the Bill received cross party support. The initial debate on the Bill took place in the Seanad on 19th May 2010 (read more here) before passing the Committee and remaining states on 8th March 2011 (read more here).
The widespread support for the legislation was repeated by the various political parties (Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party and Sinn Féin) ahead of the 2011 General Election. The Fine Gael/ Labour Party Government then initiated a regulatory impact analysis of the legislation. That report was published on the 27th September 2011. The summary can be read here.
The next stage in the progress of the legislation was for it to be introduced to Dáil Éireann. The first set of speeches on this issue was heard in the Dáil on 3rd May 2012 (here) and further speeches were heard on 10th May (here), 19th June (here) and 20th June (here and here).
The Bill was then sent to the Select Sub Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform. The first part of the Committee Stage debate took place on 15th May 2013 (here). The Committee stage concluded on 12th June 2013 (here).
The Bill moved to Report and Final Stages in the Dáil on 16th July 2013 (here). This completed its passage through Dáil Éireann.
Bill as passed by Dáil Éireann.
It will now be passed back to the Seanad which will need to approve the changes made to the legislation during it’s time in the Dáil and then enact the legislation. It is expected that this will take place before the Oireachtas breaks up for the summer 2013 recess.
The CIF is committed to pressing the Government to ensure there are no further delays in the passage of this legislation.
12th May 2010 – Bill introduced by Senator Feargal Quinn
19th May 2010 – Bill debated in Seanad Éireann
8th March 2011 – Bill completes Committee and Remaining Stages in Seanad, passed to Dáil Éireann
27th September 2011 – Government publishes Regulatory Impact Assessment
3rd May 2012 – Dáil Éireann begins Second Stage Debate.
20th June 2012 – Dáil Éireann completes Second Stage Debate.
15th May 2013 – Part 1 of Committee Stage Debate at the Select Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform.
12th June 2013 – Part 2 of Committee Stage Debate at the Select Committee on Public Expenditure and Reform.
16th July 2013 – Report and Final Stages Debate takes place in the Dail and the Bill completes its passage through Dáil Éireann
Construction Contracts Bill – original text
Seanad Éireann – Second Stage Debate: 19/05/2010
Seanad Éireann – Committee and Remaining Stages: 08/03/2011
Dáil Éireann – Second Stage Debate: 03/05/2012, 10/05/2012, 19/06/2012, 20/06/2012 Part 1 & 20/06/2012 Part 2
Dáil Éireann – Committee Stage Debate: 15/05/2013, 12/06/2013
Dail Eireann – Report and Final Stage Debate: 16/07/2013
Current draft of the Bill
Regulatory Impact Analysis Summary