8 September 2005 Edition

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Sinn Féin attempt to oust GAMA from Castleblayney By-pass

A Sinn Féin motion at Monday's meeting of Monaghan County Council which sought to revoke the contract awarded to GAMA to develop the Castleblayney By-pass was rejected by the combined votes of the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael members.

The motion was supported by the seven Sinn Féin members and the sole independent member of Monaghan County Council. The six Fine Gael and four Fianna Fáil members present voted against.

Describing the outcome as 'disappointing', the Sinn Féin leader on the council, Brian McKenna, said that his party would now try to put pressure on the Minister responsible to intervene in this matter.

The Sinn Féin motion to Monaghan County Council noted the serious accusations that remain about the actions of GAMA in its treatment of its workforce and the fact that it has used the courts to prevent the publication of the Labour Inspectorate's report into some of these accusations.

It highlighted the fact that the County Monaghan economy will gain little or no benefit from a GAMA construction of a major capital project and that there will be little or no local employment generated.

The Sinn Féin councillors also raised questions regarding the quality of previous works carried out by GAMA.

Councillor McKenna said afterwards that he was disappointed and frustrated that the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael members of the council voted against the proposal. "It is yet another shameful example of the two largest parties sticking together on the issues that really count," he said.

"The fact that GAMA, which continues to have a dark cloud hanging over it, is to be permitted to undertake a multi-million euro public project, must be a cause of huge concern to everyone interested in workers' rights.

"Our motion was submitted after we listened to the views of the people of County Monaghan over the past number of weeks. We believe that the vast majority of Monaghan people do not want to be associated with this type of company. They share the concerns of the Sinn Féin representatives that the Castleblayney By-pass should be completed as quickly as possible but not by the methods employed by GAMA in the treatment of their workforce."

McKenna re-iterated the call made by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD last week for the Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen, to intervene in this matter to prevent GAMA from securing such projects until all ongoing investigations into their treatment of employees are completed and best practice standards apply in their relationship with their workers.

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