The High Court has appointed an interim examiner to Sammon Group, the Irish construction company building six schools and colleges under a Public Private Partnership between the State and UK company Carillion.

Sammon Group said it has been forced to make the application as a result of very significant funds owed to it as a result of the collapse of Carillion. 

Carillion - which had major interests in the UK and internationally – collapsed several months ago.

Sammon had been subcontracted to build the five schools and one further education building at sites around the country on behalf of Carillion. 

The projects all came to a standstill shortly after Carillion collapsed.

A retendering process to complete them is now under way.

Sammon Group told the High Court that Carillion's collapse had "contaminated the entire group and the other projects it is working on".

It said the collapse had had "a devastating and immediate impact". The company is owed a reported €8m from Carillion and cannot now pay its creditors.

Appointing an interim examiner Mr Justice Robert Haughton said that an independent report had stated the Sammon companies had "a reasonable prospect of surviving" if certain steps were taken. 

An examinership is a process that supports a company in financial difficulty to help it continue trading.

During a period of examinership no creditor can institute proceedings. 

Sammon said it is regrettable that it has had to seek an examinership, but it is confident that this will provide a framework under which they will be able to continue their business into the future.

RTÉ News has spoken to subcontractors who were involved in the school building projects and who are owed significant sums by Sammon.

This evening one of those subcontractors expressed doubt that they would now be paid.

Sammon Group is currently involved in several other significant building projects here, including four major school building projects.

It is constructing two new post-primary schools in Maynooth, to cater for 2,000 students as well as two new second level schools in Cork; St Colman's in Midleton and Coláiste Chraoibhin in Fermoy, and a new primary school - Gaelscoil Bharra - in Dublin.

The Department of Education has said it will proactively engage with both Sammon and the Interim Examiner to discuss the impact on individual projects.

It said it has contacted school management representatives and will keep them informed of developments. 

Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board, which runs the two Maynooth schools that are under construction, has said it wants to assure staff, students and parents that it will do everything it can to support the situation and will work to keep everyone informed on the progress of the projects.

Sammon has asked its creditors to send details of what they are owed to the Intermim Examiner. The company will be back in the High Court on 16 April to have the interim examinership extended to full examinership.

The company will then be protected for 100 days and given time to put a restructuring plan in place.