CRH has firmly denied that Israeli group Mashav, in which it owns a 25 per cent shareholding, is supplying cement or concrete to the security barrier being built by Israel in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority office in Dublin has accused CRH of being a key supplier through Mashav’s Nesher Cement, which controls some 80pc of the Israelicement supply. "Nesher has no involvement in that wall," Liam O’Mahony said at a news briefing on the group’s 2003 results. Declan Doyle, who heads up the group’s European materials division, added that some three-quarters of Israel’s 5Mt cement requirement was being imported from Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
CRH bought 25pc of Mashav in August 2001 and was granted an option over a further 25 per cent that was to have been exercised by the end of 2003. Mr O’Mahony said yesterday that option had now been "extended for a period" although he would not say specifically for how long. "We have a relaxed relationship with them," he added. Mashav is 75pc owned by Clal Industries, a diverse Israeli holding company.