MORE than one in 10 construction workers being carefully monitored on an illegal British blacklist were Irish, this newspaper has learned.
A source with access to all the names on the secret industry blacklist that was used to vet thousands of workers has confirmed that at least 370 people on the 3,200-person database have a typical Irish surname.
The total number is expected to be significantly higher still and the vast majority of blacklisted workers remain unaware that their personal data was collated and used to keep them out of work.
The revelation has added to mounting pressure on the British Government to hold an independent public inquiry into the “organised victimisation” of Irish construction workers.
Last week, shadow business secretary Chukka Umunna called on the Government to investigate allegations that British police and security services colluded with The Consulting Association (TCA) and its predecessor The Economic League in blacklisting Irish workers and illegally barring them from Ministry of Defence projects.
Labour MP John McDonnell, who first raised the issue of blacklisting over a decade ago, told The Irish Post that this week’s news has reinforced the case for such a probe.
He said: “We want the truth about how Irish workers were targeted and who in the state authorised or turned a blind eye to this organised victimisation.”
The backbencher added: “What is shocking is that we now know that the Police and security services collaborated in providing the information that led to Irish workers being blacklisted. People’s lives were devastated by blacklisting as many workers lost their jobs and their families suffered real hardship.”
Following a raid of TCA by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009, a blacklist that was used by 44 construction companies to vet 3,213 workers was discovered. Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has admitted to using the list as recently as 2008 to make checks on potential Olympic Stadium workers.
If you believe that you might have been blacklisted, contact the Information Commissioner’s Office by calling 0303 123 1113.