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Sinn Féin calls for equality of treatment for eastern European workers

24 February, 2004


Sinn Féin Councilor and EU Candidate for the East constituency, John Dwyer has reacted angrily to reports that the Irish Government is set to introduce restrictions to block eastern Europeans from claiming welfare benefits, when the accession states join the EU on May 1st 2004.

Speaking today, Sinn Féin Councilor and EU Candidate for the East constituency, John Dwyer said:

"The attitude of the Irish Government is deeply disappointing, yet not entirely unsurprising. The Government are quite content to allow migrant workers to come to this country and work, yet are refusing them access to welfare benefits - what if these workers were to be made redundant or are between jobs? What safety net is available to those helping to boost the Irish economy?

"Emigrant workers from the accession states should be entitled to avail of the same welfare and workers rights that exist within and between the current EU states. To deny theses conditions, is a fundamental breach of their human rights.

"The British Government have recently banned migrant workers from claiming benefits for two years, and now the Irish Government look set to replicate this. It seems that when the British lead, the Irish Government follow" ENDS.

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