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Taoiseach must press for EU Ferries Directive in light of Irish Ferries agreement - Mary Lou McDonald

14 December, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has today reissued a call the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern to raise the issue of Irish Ferries at the European Council meeting and ask for the 1998 Ferries Directive, which was backed by the EU Parliament in 1999, to be re-tabled.

Ms McDonald made her comments after agreement was reached between management and trade unions at the Labour Relations Commission.

Speaking this morning Ms McDonald said:

"Last nights agreement between the unions and management at Irish Ferries is very much a mixed bag.

"Whilst I obviously welcome the fact that greater terms and conditions have been negotiated with existing staff, and that foreign workers will be raised to the minimum wage, I am concerned at the companies ability to reflag itself elsewhere.

"In a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Transport Jacques Barrot yesterday evening, we explained to the to him that that the practice of using flags of convenience is not only unacceptable but it is wrong. This trend will lead to a situation where workers throughout Europe lose out as standards plummet.

"Following our meeting with Commissioner Barrot and the unfolding developments through the Labour Relations Commission , we are continuing to call on the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern to propose the re-tabling of the 2002 Ferries Directive at the European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday of this week." ENDS

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