The High Court has approved the appointment of an interim examiner to Pierse Construction.

The directors of Pierse Contracting and Pierse Building Services said they supported the appointment of John McStay of McStay Luby as examiner to the businesses.

Counsel for Pierse Construction Rossa Fanning said that the company had suffered a precipitous collapse in turnover and a reduced cash flow due to a downward spiral in the demand for houses.

Mr Fanning said the company's cash flow projections were extremely positive and the company had been in discussions with a joint venture partner.

He said that the company was owed €30m in bad debts. This included a bad debt of €16m from Gannon Homes, which is now in the National Asset Management Agency.

Mr Fanning said this debt has created an intolerable cash flow difficulty and were it not for that debt, the company would not be before the court.

Pierse Chief Executive Nobby O'Reilly said the company has a strong prospect of survival.

The company said the appointment of an examiner will allow it to put in place a restructuring plan. It said all taxes are fully up to date and no money is owed to the revenue.

Mr O'Reilly said: 'We are currently working on contracts to the value of €151.5m and, despite difficulties in the construction market, have a strong new business pipeline.

'This, together with the cost saving programme we have undertaken in recent years, puts us in a strong position to work with the Examiner to implement a restructuring plan over the coming weeks and trade out of our current cash flow difficulties.'

Pierse Construction is one of the top three construction firms in the country and was founded in 1978.

Its operations include property and residential development, building contracting, civil and marine engineering.

It also operates in specialist areas, such as piling and foundation engineering, fit-outs, refurbishment, clean room engineering, demolition and marine outfalls.

The company has worked on some of the largest construction projects in Ireland.

Projects currently under construction include water supply schemes at Sandyford and Saggart in Dublin and a psychiatric unit in Bessboro.

It is also involved in building a number of schools under Public Private Partnerships, as well as a number of service stations on the national roads network.

NAMA refused to comment on any specific case but made the point that they have advanced over €40m in working capital to various parties who have come into NAMA.

Dismissing any suggestion of delays in making decisions, a spokesperson said there was no credit application on the books with NAMA that has been outstanding for more than a week.

They say they have particularly onerous responsibilities in respect of any decisions in this regard because they are dealing with taxpayers' money.

Ultimately, the issue of legacy unsecured creditors - whose debts arise from trading before NAMA - is one which NAMA expects debtors to address in their business plan submitted to the agency.