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The Lochmaddy Pier Project faces further delays after the termination of the construction contract with the long-absent contractor.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar today (Friday November 6) announced that the delivery of the improvement works at Lochmaddy Pier will be delayed following the failure of the contractor, L&M Keating Ltd, of County Clare in Ireland, to return to the site following their suspension of the works, initially in March due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and then again in July 2020.

Following a consideration of the contractual details by the Comhairle at the end of September, the contract with Keating has now been terminated and the Comhairle, in collaboration with Transport Scotland as key funders of the project, are exploring options for commissioning and organising delivery of the works.

In the meantime, there is a need to undertake reinstatement works at the site to ensure it is left safe and secure for the intervening period and it is planned to undertake these in the coming weeks. 

In addition, it is proposed to undertake a programme of enabling works over the coming months, including completing the demolition of the former Visit Scotland and former Coastguard properties and undertaking advance utility diversion works at the site.

Councillor Uisdean Robertson, who chairs the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, “Whilst we recognise the financial and organisational challenges facing the Contractor, it is crucial that we continue with the delivery of the improvement works. 

"The decision to terminate the contract was not taken lightly and we see re-engaging with the construction sector as soon as possible as the best way forward for the project”.

In October, the Irish Times newspaper reported that "an interim examiner has been appointed by the High Court to two companies in the Keating group of engineering and building services companies.

"L & M Keating Ltd and Kilmihil Rental Store Ltd, with registered offices in Kilmihil, Co Clare, are among the leading specialist marine contractors here.

"L & M Keating employed 150 directly up to last June but currently has 91 full time employees, of whom 45 are temporarily laid off. Before Covid-19 related site closures, it had engaged an estimated 300 people indirectly through the supply chain. Kilmihil Rental has no direct employees.

"L & M Keating is the main trading company in the Keating group and Kilmihil is a plant hire company exclusively supplying plant and machinery to Keating’s projects."

The photograph of the hoped-for work comes from