PQ: Employment Rights (Fishing Industry 2)

Tue, November 10, 2015

216. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the status of Irish work permits for migrant workers in the fishing industry, and allegations in a newspaper (details supplied) that such workers have been trafficked into Ireland in defiance of Irish work permit and contractor licensing legislation, and that such workers have been allegedly abused and maltreated; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Richard Bruton): I am aware of the allegations to which the Deputy refers. I am very concerned by the reported circumstances and treatment of the workers involved and the alleged compromise of their safety. Any mistreatment of workers on Irish fishing vessels is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the State and its agencies. That is why the Government decided last week to immediately establish an Inter-Departmental Taskforce chaired by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, to examine the wide range of issues regarding the treatment of workers on board Irish fishing trawlers, including those raised by the Deputy in his question. The Taskforce had its first meeting on the fifth of November and will meet again this week. It has set itself a very tight timeframe in which to come up with proposals for Government and I look forward to considering these together with my Cabinet colleagues.