OVER one hundred former workers of Waterford Crystal living in South Kilkenny finally got justice when the European Court ruled in their favour.
Sean Maher from Mullinavat who worked at the factory for 39 years said that the decision was ‘marvellous’.
“Finally we have got something. This is a huge indictment on the Government and on the past Government for not looking after a basic right. A blind man could see that we were in the right.
“This has gone on for four years and it has been very stressful and unfortunately there are some members who are no longer with us today. We have to go back to court for the final settlement, and we have to try and put on political pressure. We will be targeting the Labour Party in particular as they are supposed to protect workers’ rights,” he said.
The former worker who has been involved in the campaign said that there were people from all over South Kilkenny who were affected. “There are people from Tullogher, Rosbercon, Glenmore, Slieverue, Mooncoin, Tullahought, Piltown and Kilmacow. There isn’t a parish in South Kilkenny that isn’t affected by this,” he said.
The retired worker will travel to Leinster House today (Wednesday) to lobby politicans. “We need a swift, decisive conclusion to this,” he added.
“It is a great win for natural justice and fairness, it is coming from Europe and all states have to abide to the letter of the law regarding judgements, this one is from the highest court, based in Luxemburg,” he said.
There are approximately 120 former South Kilkenny workers in this case and all will benefit. “It will put money into people’s pockets and it is a good boost to the local economy,” he added.
He also remarked that the Irish Government past and present were very selective in why they awarded pensions too and it was not to workers, it was to bankers.
“We asked them on many occasions to do the right thing and give us what we were rightly entitled to, but they disowned their own people. It is a great win and shows that Europe is important, it is one of the few pieces of workers rights that is enshrined into the member states laws, that they are compelled to honour,” he said.
Deputy Ann Phelan (Labour) welcomed the decision of the European Court of Justice who found in favour of the workers at Waterford Crystal, who had taken a case against the State for the loss of their pensions when the company went bankrupt.
‘This is a victory for the workers who, through no fault of their own, lost a lot money already invested in their pension scheme’ said Deputy Phelan.
‘However, this result is just a finding by the European Court of Justice, as the matter was referred to them by the
High Court here in Ireland, and the case will now go back to the High Court to decide on the State’s liabiblity’
‘There are ramifications here for our Government, and I would urge the Government to finalise this case and
bring it to a resolution as soon as is possible, but there is no doubt that this is a victory for the 1,500 workers in
Waterford, for whom it has been a long fight’ concluded Deputy Phelan.