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Mary Lou McDonald to raise Irish Ferries issue with European Commission

5 October, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald will raise the issue of Irish Ferries with the European Commission at the next session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the 24th October. Ms McDonald has submitted an oral question to the Commission asking them If they intended proposing a directive which would deal with ships operating in European waters under flags of convenience.

Ms McDonald said she was raising the issue at a European level in order to 'halt the exploitation of workers and their employment conditions and the wider flags of convenience issue'.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"I intend raising the issue of Irish ferries at the next plenary session of the European Parliament in the week beginning October 24th. Not only does the company plan to make 500 staff redundant, but they plan to replace those workers with cheap immigrant labour.

"Sinn Féin is in support of a European Ferries Directive in order to combat 'social dumping' on ferries and for minimum labour standards to be set.

"This dispute is a reflection of the wider corporate greed agenda which is rife within the European Union at present. It is only a few months since a Filipino woman Salvacion Orge, won substantial damages from Irish Ferries after it became known that she was earning 1 euro per hour. This company has a record of exploiting workers in relation to their conditions, hours of work and pay.

"I believe that raising this issue at European level would help halt such practices in the future. Our focus in the time ahead must be on the protection of the rights of the employee." ENDS

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