ALMOST 300 skilled construction workers look likely to remain out of work after a petition was lodged in the High Court to recover money from the developers behind the multi-million-euro Parkway Valley project.
The huge Dublin Road development began slowing to a halt last August, following the builders' holiday. Now, Dublin firm Deepdrill Developments has applied to the High Court for the liquidation of Danningers, the main operating company of Ireland's biggest developer, Liam Carroll. The case is expected to be heard next Monday.
SIPTU believe that the Parkway Valley development, on which work ceased in November after a skeleton staff had operated for some months, will be a casualty of the court action and is expected to impact on up to 300 builders promised work - as well many more potential retail jobs.
Assistant SIPTU organiser Mark Quinn told the Limerick Leader: "It's a major blow to the construction industry within the region. There are 300 jobs affected by the shut down of this site, and there has been basically no response from Danningers confirming the same – even though we have contacted them on several occasions.
"It's a massive blow to employees who have been left in limbo for so long as to what's happened. But there is very little you can do in relation to the project as its a private entity.
"We would like some clarification from Danningers in relation to who the clients are and why the project could not be continued. The region needs to have an answer to what is potentially going to be an eyesore."
A part of the neighbouring Childers' Road was to be widened to facilitate the shopping centre. This is also now unlikely to happen, something which has led city councillor Kieran O'Hanlon to call for developers to put money forward to facilitate planning gain.
"Some of this money should have been paid up front when planning permission was given.
"This is our city and we just cannot have derelict sites," he said, adding: "It's the tail end of the Celtic Tiger when you see this. It would have been great for the local building sector. I really don't know what's going to happen with these buildings, as we have sites which are half-abandoned in Rhebogue as well. Its an issue I will be taking up with the City Council."
The development, originally given the go-ahead in 2005, promised "iconic surroundings" and "dynamic shopping" with more than 47,000 square meters in retail space. It was expected to welcome its first customers this year.
Earlier this week, the Construction Industry Federation warned that as many as 12,500 jobs could be lost in this region alone as the global recession takes hold.
Danningers declined to comment.