Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and Cllr. Mick Murphy are currently in Holland with four former employees of GAMA Construction. As a result of a joint investigation with Michael O’Farrell of the Irish Examiner newspaper they have found that there may be up to €40 million lodged in the names of GAMA workers.
EXTRACT FROM RTE NEWS@ONE INTERVIEW 31/03/2005
Sean O’Rourke: Now that was last week, under privilidge in the Dail… Joe Higgins, you’re joining us from Amsterdam – you went over with the workers, or some of them anyway to see if you could locate some of the money which the company said had been lodged in their names in a bank over there. What happened?
Joe Higgins: Correct, we came this morning with four workers who have recently left GAMA Construction in Ireland and we decided we would see whether the story the company told them to tell the investigating inspectors from the Department of Employment was true; that money was paid into Finance Bank Holland in Amsterdam. The curious thing about this was that the first workers did hear of it was when the investigation started and GAMA management were coaching them, as was said in the Dail, to say that story. Now incredibly when we came here, we found in fact that the four ex-GAMA employees have accounts in their names in Finance Bank Holland and have amounts of ?23,000, about ?13 or ?14,000, ?10,000 and ?5,000 and that was the first that these workers knew that this account was here, and that was the first they knew that they had these funds. So its a quite sensational discovery.
Now what we’ve subsequently found out then in Finance Bank Holland this morning, is that in fact every worker coming to Ireland signed a form authorising the opening of this account, but did not have sight of what they were signing – that was the problem. And they signed for other things, which I cannot go into now but Michael O’Farrell – political reporter of the Examiner – and we’ll have all the details in his paper tomorrow. But its an incredible situation, that between perhaps between maybe 2,000 workers, if you take those currently in Ireland and those who have left GAMA had these funds, and have these funds here and knew absolutley nothing about it. So I would reckon there must be about ?40 million perhaps in this account.