21 August 1997 Edition

Resize: A A A Print

Ford discrimination exposed - again

By Eoin O'Broin

Gerry Adams, MP for West Belfast, has been excluded from a Ford Motors luncheon for newly elected MPs who represent constituencies in which there are Ford plants. The luncheon, which was reported in Ford's in-house magazine, Ford News, was held in London, and the MPs were briefed on Ford's major new investment plan.

Ford Chairman for Britain Ian McAlister discussed details of research and development plans with the representatives. In addition issues such as environmental and safety legislation were discussed as well as a range of social measures such as Welfare to Work schemes.

At the close of the luncheon McAlister told the MPs that ``...we seek nothing more than close consultation and to be a partner in the decision-making process. We hope that we can work with you to ensure that commitment and the future remains bright for many years''.

However, Ford's Finaghy plant was obviously not included in McAlister's ``bright'' future as newly elected MP Gerry Adams was not invited.

Gerry Adams reacted angrily to the snub. He said, ``The Ford plant in West Belfast is a major employer. Regrettably as a result of policies pursued by Ford it is frequently accused of discrimination against Catholics and has been found guilty of discrimination. Consequently, it has not been a happy relationship with the people of West Belfast.

``At a time when great effort is being made to build a peace process which can achieve a lasting settlement, and at a time when the issue of equality is so central to that process, it is reprehensible that Ford should have behaved in this manner.''

Adams said he will be seeking a meeting with Ford's management.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1