[Sinn Fein]

7 September 2001

Cork Councillor Barred by Navy

Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle member, Martin Ferris, condemned the actions of the naval authorities, in barring two members of Sinn Fein from working on Haulbowline, and said he would be raising the issue at governmental level. One of those barred is Cork Corporation Councillor, Jonathan O Brien.

Martin Ferris said: ``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 Fein.

At the end of June, sub contractor John Callaghan, submitted the names of those who would be working on the contract. He commenced work on Tuesday 21st August and for the next week and a half there were no problems. Then on Thursday 30th 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 could not obtain a reason for the men's dismissal from Haulbowline.

There was no problem with their work. The only thing they have in common is their membership of Sinn Fein. 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. At a time when Bertie Ahern is urging Sinn Fein to join the police boards in the six counties, the navy in the twenty-six counties are discriminating against members of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein will be using every remedy possible to have these men reinstated and an apology given to them. Sinn Fein has been in the forefront of the fight against discrimination in the six counties and will not allow our own members to be discriminated against in Cork.'' END

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