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Open pubs on Good Friday, but ensure bar staff’s rights are upheld and protected – Ó Donnghaile

12 April, 2017 - by Niall Ó Donnghaile

Speaking after the ‘Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill’ was moved in the Seanad today, Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said that the party would not oppose its moving forward at this stage on the basis of embracing a pluralist Ireland, where there is a clear separation between Church and State, but that going forward, the party would work to ensure that the legislation reflects the serious issues faced by workers throughout the state.

Speaking in Dublin following the debate this evening, Seanadóir Ó Donnghaile said;

“We are not opposed to opening bars on Good Friday, it is an issue of choice; if people wish to observe religious practices on Good Friday then they should also be free to do exactly that; this Bill would not prohibit them from doing so.

“Sinn Féin and our team in the Seanad are, however, very concerned about the conditions of work and pay for those who work in the food and drink sector. In NERA’s report published in 2016, it was estimated that 60% of employers in the industry do not comply with workforce regulations such as the ‘National Minimum Wage and Protection of Young Persons Act’ and almost €300,000 in unpaid wages in the food and drink sector were recovered by NERA in 2014.

“This is an intolerable and unacceptable state of affairs.  Employers must change their attitude to staff and introduce fair and acceptable working conditions. The legislation is already in place regarding pay and conditions, many employers are simply refusing to implement it in their own businesses. This is where the focus of Government should be when it comes to bolstering our hospitality sector.

“Sinn Féin is committed to working with the proposers of the Bill to ensure the views of workers are reflected therein; we will work collaboratively and positively with all stakeholders as this legislation moves through the various upcoming stages.” 

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