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Harney's comments on work permits meaningless

16 April, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment, Arthur Morgan T.D. has branded the comments by An Tánaiste this morning that her department will give new work permits to immigrants who are being exploited by their current employer as "meaningless".

Deputy Morgan said

"The comments by an The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Harney, that her Department will give new work permits to any immigrants who are being exploited by their current employer in this State are meaningless and insincere.

"If Mary Harney is at all serious about stopping exploitation of migrant workers she would introduce as a matter of urgency legislation to allow the work permit to be held by the employee rather than the employer. The current system whereby workers are tied to one employer results in migrant workers being in a position akin to bonded laborers. Her suggestion that exploited workers can simply come to her Department in an ad hoc fashion if they are being exploited is unrealistic and unworkable and shows that An Tanaiste has no understanding of the position exploited workers find themselves in.

"In light of her consistent rejection of calls for such a legislative change as I have just mentioned, her apparent concern for the rights and welfare of migrant workers rings very hollow.

"I would challenge An Tánaiste to cease defending a system that facilitates exploitation of vulnerable migrant workers" ENDS

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