Irish construction workers cop flak from NZ construction chief

Comments from a NZ construction chief have caused a stir after suggesting that building contractors involved in shoddy repair work for earthquake affected homes may be hard to track down because “maybe they have gone home to Ireland”.Graham Darlow, CEO of Fletcher constructions immediately sought to rectify his remarks and apologised if his comments “were interpreted as being critical of builders of Irish decent”.

Comments from a NZ construction chief have caused a stir after suggesting that building contractors involved in shoddy repair work for earthquake affected homes may be hard to track down because “maybe they have gone home to Ireland”.

Graham Darlow, CEO of Fletcher constructions immediately sought to rectify his remarks and apologised if his comments “were interpreted as being critical of builders of Irish decent”.

The remarks have not gone down well with the Irish expat community in Christchurch, with the Human Rights Commission receiving 10 formal complaints about the matter. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee also sought to downplay the comments and highlighted the contribution of Irish workers

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"The Irish who come to Christchurch have made a huge contribution ... and I don't think they should take that too hard."

Similar headlines have been generated here in Australia in the past, with Irish workers targeted with the headline back in 2013 “Workers in a stew over claimed jobs invasion by Irish workers”. The source of these articles has typically been the age old issues of construction, liability shift by builders, and disgruntled construction companies outbid for a contract.

Irish construction works enjoy a solid reputation here in Australia and abroad, with representatives from Government and construction employment recruiters from Canada, New Zealand and Australia heavily targeting Irish tradies to subsidise the construction boom over the last several years.

Irish tradesmen now find themselves in a tug of war, with the Irish construction market recovering after the crash of 2008 attempting to lure tradesmen back home as the residential building market starts to revive. The construction industry forecast an additional 300,000 jobs will be required over the next decade in Australia to supplement the demand, so the fight for tradies shows no sign of abating.

At ConX we encourage visibility and transparency in the hiring process and the industry as a whole, by providing a platform for tradesmen to build an online profile of work .The best man for the job based on skills, qualifications and experience, regardless of nationality.