13 September 2001 Edition

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Cork councillor barred by Navy

Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle member Martin Ferris has slammed the actions of the 26-County naval authorities in barring two members of Sinn Féin from working at Haulbowline and said he would be raising the issue at governmental level. One of those barred is Cork Corporation Councillor Jonathan O Brien.

``I find it difficult to believe in 2001 that the naval authorities would behave in such a reprehensible way, depriving two good workers of employment on Haulbowline because they are members of Sinn Féin,'' said Ferris.

At the end of June, subcontractor John Callaghan submitted the names of those who would be working on the contract. He commenced work on Tuesday 21 August and and for the next week and a half there were no problems. Then, on Thursday 30 August, the main contractor was told that two men, John Callaghan and Jonathan O'Brien, were not to come back on site again. No reason was given. Subsequent inquiries by the men, their union (The Operative Plasterers and Allied Trades Society of Ireland) and the main contractor failed to elicit a reason for the men's dismissal from Haulbowline.

``There was no problem with their work,'' said Martin erris. ``The only thing they have in common is their membership of Sinn Féin. Jonathan O Brien is a very able Cork Corporation Councillor, active on five important committees, yet the navy does not consider him suitable to work on their base.

``This is a clear example of political discrimination. Sinn Féin will be using every remedy possible to have these men reinstated and an apology made to them. Sinn Féin has been in the forefront of the fight against discrimination in the Six Counties and we will not allow our own members to be discriminated against in Cork.''

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