Cork GAA bring High Court challenge over

Cork GAA bring High Court challenge over

The 45,000-seat stadium was re-opened in 2017 following a two year redevelopment.

Cork GAA has brought a High Court challenge over a claim for what it says is an attempt by a contractor to seek a further €1m payment for electrical works carried out in the revamp of Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

The 45,000-seat stadium was re-opened in 2017 following a two year redevelopment.

One of the contracts in the project was for electrical works by OCS One Complete Solution Ltd which Cork GAA says was eventually paid €7.1m.

However, Kevin O'Donovan, CEO of Cork GAA, said some three years after the stadium was handed over by the builders, OCS served notice of its intention to refer a claim for additional payment for electrical works to an adjudicator.

The appointment of an adjudicator was considered by the chairperson of the government's Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel at the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation. The power to appoint an adjudicator is held under the 2013 Construction Contracts Act.

On October 20 last, senior counsel James Bridgeman was appointed adjudicator.

In judicial review proceedings against the chair of the adjudication panel, Nael G Bunni, and against Mr Bridgeman, Mr O'Donovan and the Cork County Committee of the GAA seek orders including the quashing of the decision to appoint the adjudicator. OCS is a notice party.

Today Mr Justice Charles Meenan granted leave to bring a judicial review. He also granted a stay on the adjudicator proceeding, subject to the respondents or OCS applying on 72 hours notice to remove or vary the stay.

The application, made by John Lucey SC, for Mr O'Donovan and the GAA, was made on a one-side only represented basis.

Cork GAA claims the appointment was of no legal effect because the contract with OCS was entered into before the 2013 Act came into operation in July 2016. Cork GAA says the contract began a month earlier, in June 2016 when it was agreed to accept the tender made by OCS.

Mr O'Donovan, in an affidavit, says at all times the parties were agreed the contract would be performed pursuant to the June 2016 letter of intent.

There was, after completion of the stadium, a dispute over additional payment sought by OCS which was referred to conciliation which was not successful. Last September, an arbitrator was appointed and the process began for getting that in train.

However, Mr O'Donovan says, last June OCS indicated its intention to refer one of its claims to adjudication. This claim was for an additional €1.02m made up of increased man hour rates, delay, changed conditions, ad hoc piecemeal works and "containment" or work to cover the electrical works from view.

This was "a clear attempt to seek further payment for matters that were not linked to a payment date or to any application for a variation claim", Mr O'Donovan said.

Mr Lucey, for Cork GAA, told the court the claim was "a hotch potch which was essentially a drawing together of various claims for delay and disruption."

The matter was urgent because the adjudicator, Mr Bridgemen, has until on November 30 to make his decision which can be enforced and used in any proceedings, counsel said.

Mr Justice Meenan said the matter could return to court in January.

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