[Sinn Fein]

22 October 1998

Tallaght Workers should be released immediately

Sinn Fein representative for Dublin South West, Séan Crowe today called for the immediate release for the two Tallaght building workers who were sent to Mountjoy Jail for being part of a strike against the black economy. Crowe said there was ``something rotten about a society that sends workers fighting for an honest PAYE system to jail and gives bank fraudsters who embezzled millions of pounds from the states coffers an amnesty.''

Mr. Crowe said:

``When the government introduced the 1990 Industrial Relations Act, trade unionists were told that no worker would be jailed because of this legislation. It is clear they were told lies. Increasingly employers are using this legislation to prevent workers from joining a trade union and in the case of these jailed workers to prevent them protesting against the widespread use of the black economy by sub contractors.

``How can any society justify sending workers who are on strike against fraud, widespread abuse of the law and the lack of basic safety standards in their industry to jail ?

``Surely in any industry there should be an automatic entitlement for workers to go into the PAYE system, rather than being intimidated into the black economy as is currently happening in the building industry.

``How can anyone have confidence in an industry where fifteen building workers died in 1997 and over two thousand were injured in accidents ? This is the reality behind the current building boom and the backdrop to the campaign being organised against the black economy.

``The two jailed Tallaght workers, Willie Rogers and Dave McMahon, are standing up for the rights of all tax-payers and they should be released from Mountjoy Jail immediately.'' ENDS

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