PQ: Employment Rights (Fishing Industry)

Tue, November 10, 2015

213. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in view of the exposure of the abuse of migrant workers in the fishing industry here (details supplied), the steps he will take in order to strengthen the legal position of workers in the industry; if he will consider issuing work permits and permission to remain in the State to workers who report abuse of their employment rights; 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. The Taskforce had its first meeting on the fifth of November and will meet again this week.
The Taskforce 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.