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Ferris condemns charging of Dublin dock worker

16 March, 2011 - by Martin Ferris TD

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on workers rights, Martin Ferris TD, has strongly criticised the decision to charge a former Dublin dock worker over his involvement in a picket during a 2009 dispute. 63 year old Gerard McDonnell is to appear in court this morning charged with an offence under the Maritime Safety Act . McDonnell was one of a group of dock workers who took part in a ‘floating picket’ at the port during an eight month long strike.

Deputy Ferris said:

“The fact that this charge has been processed, apparently not at the behest of the company involved in the dispute, augurs badly for the manner in which the state may treat people involved in legitimate industrial action. No one was injured in the incident, and indeed the men involved themselves were most at risk. The dispute was later settled.

“I would hope that this charge is not proceeded with as it would potentially impose a heavy penalty on Mr. McDonnell. I would also hope that we are not going to see more such heavy handed use of criminal legislation against workers engaged in legitimate actions to safeguard their jobs and conditions of employment.” ENDS

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