Cllr Seamus Morris: 'This was my proudest achievement in politics'
The High Court's decision to award Portuguese workers on the M7 project over €1m in damages and interest has been welcomed by Cllr Seamus Morris.
The award to 20 workers who were underpaid by three Portuguese companies called the RAC Eire Partnership, was made by Ms Justice Carmel Stewart before Christmas.
She had said in her ruling that the workers had been treated "appallingly" and that it "beggars beilef that their ordeal lcould have lasted so long".
Cllr Morris said that he was delighted that workers, who were treated so “appallingly” had won the first part of their battle in getting justice for the conditions that they had to endure in modern day Ireland while building such important infrastructure for the State.
However, he was concerned now about the battle to draw the money down.
“I personally spent - as a mere councillor - nearly 18 months of my life chasing €1.4m owed to subcontractors and suppliers, including bringing the Portuguese ambassador into it and ringing Portugal every Sunday for six months as I chased unpaid debts,” he said.
He was delighted to say that where TDs and other local politicians “huffed and puffed”, he was successful in getting €1.4m for suppliers and subcontractors.
“This was my proudest achievement in politics,” said Cllr Morris.
“The fact that thousands of people passed their appalling living conditions weekly and ignored their plight says a lot about modern-day Ireland,” he said.
Cllr Morris said that state projects were set up in a way that the guy at the bottom, be they workers, suppliers or subcontractors all got screwed by the super contractors at the top of the pile.
“Despite false promises by the way subcontractors were treated in this project in 2007/8 not one thing has changed as super contractors are still doing what they want and more and more projects are collapsing due to money running out before they are finished,” he said.
Cllr Morris said that the awarding of contracts was loaded against ordinary subcontractors, with only a few super contractors able to pass the initial conditions.
“This gives them more and more power to screw everyone below them when they get the contract,” he said.
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