Northern Ireland

Stormont gates blocked in Red Sky protest

Red Sky vehicles in a convoy in Belfast
Image caption Red Sky vehicles in a convoy in Belfast city centre

The main gates at Stormont have been blocked during a protest by employees of a construction firm whose maintenance contracts were cancelled by the Housing Executive.

A number of vans have blocked off the entrance and the gates have been shut.

Red Sky's contracts with NIHE were cancelled over concerns about work practices.

It has now gone into voluntary administration.

Red Sky workers are also involved in a protest outside the Housing Executive's office in Adelaide Street in Belfast on Wednesday.

Red Sky carried out work on NIHE properties in the greater Belfast area.

Last Thursday, following an investigation, the executive announced it was terminating the contracts, believed to be worth £8m.

Red Sky rejected the findings. It said the action was "sudden and unexpected".

In a statement the Housing Executive said: "Our primary concern will be to provide the ongoing repair maintenance service that our tenants require.

"We already have contingency measures in place to ensure that these maintenance services continue as normal.

Image caption Red Sky workers also held a protest outside the Housing Executive office in Adelaide Street

"It should, however, be noted that our contract with Red Sky Group is due to continue for a further three months within the notice period advised.

"We appreciate that this is a difficult time for the Red Sky Group and their workforce and the Housing Executive will work closely with those managing the current process to address issues as they arise."

Red Sky said the move left the company with "no alternative" but to go into administration.

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