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Construction row Row between contractors delaying completion of vaccine manufacturing plant

The plant is being constructed on behalf of WuXi Vaccines Ireland Ltd and will employ some 200 people when operational

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A dispute between contractors involved in the construction of a vaccine manufacturing facility in Co Louth has severely delayed the project, the High Court has heard.

The action has been brought by Sepam Solutions Limited, which has been contracted to supply reequipment and services as part of the construction of a large biopharmaceutical facility in at the IDA Science and Technology Park at Mullagharlin, Dundalk, Co Louth.

The plant is being constructed on behalf of WuXi Vaccines Ireland Ltd and will employ some 200 people when operational.

It plans to develop vaccines to combat Dengue Fever, which effects millions of people globally, for multi-national pharma giant Merck, Sharp and Dohme.

In High Court proceedings Sepam, which is contracted to carry out plumbing, mechanical and electrical works on the plant, claims that MDLR Ltd and Titin Ltd,  had been engaged by it as subcontractors.

It is alleged that MDLR, which is registered in Mitchelstown Co Cork and Titin which has a registered address at Burncourt, Cahir, Co Tipperary are separate but related companies.

Sepam, with a registered address at Clonmel in Tipperary, alleges that as a result of material breaches of the subcontract it terminated agreements it had entered into with the defendants.

However, Sepam claims that MDLR has retained and is refusing to return equipment, which is essential to the completion of the facility, supplied to it by the plaintiff.

Sepam also alleges that Titin is refusing to return monies Sepam paid as a down payment of €830,000 to allow the subcontractors procure specialised materials and other equipment needed to complete the works.

Sepam represented by Neal Flynn Bl, seeks various orders including an injunction requiring the defendants to deliver up equipment to the plaintiff, and to return the down payment.

Counsel said that arising out of the defendant's action Sepam has missed one deadline, and may miss a second deadline later this month in regarding the completion of certain works at the facility. 

The defendant's actions had already delayed the project by 12 to 16 weeks, the court heard.

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The situation is damaging Sepam's business reputation and It is further concerned that any further delay put its contract with WuXI Vaccines at risk of being terminated.

It further seeks orders preventing the defendants from reducing their assets below a value of €830,000 or dealing with the down payment Sepam made to Titin in April.

The matter came before Mr Justice Senan Allen on Friday, who on an ex-parte basis, granted Sepam permission to serve short notice of the injunction application on the defendants.

The judge made the matter returnable to a date later this month.

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