The Minister for Education has said the fund management company that holds the contract to build a number of Irish schools will be in a position to appoint a new contractor within two weeks.

It follows the collapse of Sammon Group, which entered liquidation yesterday.

The group was constructing a number of schools as part of a public-private partnership involving the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

This includes the State's largest schools' infrastructure development at Maynooth in Co Kildare, which consists of two post-primary schools on a shared campus.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Richard Bruton said he understands DIF will be in a position to appoint a contractor as part of the re-tendering process of the five schools and one college affected by the Sammon liquidation within two weeks.

Mr Bruton said DIF's effort "will be to complete the schools that are closest to completion, so we're still hopeful that can be done".

He said under the PPP contract the responsibility for completion and handover of the schools lies with DIF.

Mr Bruton added that breaking the contract would have severe implications for the State and it would be subject to a €100m breakage charge.

He also said the auditors are "in the dock" following what has transpired as a result of the collapse of UK construction company Carillion.

Sammon has blamed the collapse of Carillion earlier this year for its failure.

The minister said the National Development Finance Agency would review its processes in assessing PPPs in the wake of the collapses.

"What we've seen in this case is that some of the auditing practices in respect of these PPP companies hasn't been up to the proper standard," he said.

"NDFA, like everyone else, will learn from this experience."

Meanwhile, the Director General of the Construction Industry Federation has warned of the need to modernise Government procurement practices after the Sammon Group went into liquidation.

Tom Parlon was reacting to yesterday’s announcement, which has led to fears for 200 jobs, as well as payments owed to subcontractors.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Parlon said the PPP was originally won by an international funding group made up of a Japanese and a Dutch bank and they appointed Carillion, who in turn engaged Sammon as the main contractors.

He said there was not an advance appreciation of the extent of Carillion's difficulties, which would have been a matter for the international funders and the Dept of Education and the NDFA, who were involved in the PPP tender.

Mr Parlon said he thought the issue of big PPPs and big companies coming in here was not the best way to go for Irish infrastructure provision and the procurement rules needed to be changed.

"The Irish rules dictate that the lowest cost tendered has to be accepted and this had led to a downward spiral," he said.

"Six companies might tender at a price at a margin and some company comes in either at cost or below cost and they automatically win the contract."