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Mary Lou McDonald challenges DUP MEP to public debate on the subject of migrant workers

25 August, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has this morning challenged DUP MEP Jim Allister to a public debate on the issue of migrant workers at an EU conference due to take place in Dublin on September 9th.

Ms McDonald made her calls after Mr Allister's comments last week, when he called for migrant workers from Bulgaria and Romania to be restricted from entering Britain to work.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"On September 9th a one day EU conference will be held in Dublin to discuss the future of the European Union. The 'Another Europe is Possible' conference will bring together MEPs, trade union officials, NGO's and EU officials to discuss issues such as workers‚ rights and the European Social Model.

"The protection of the rights of Irish and migrant workers is a key challenge for all of us. Jim Allister's recent doom and gloom comments regarding a 'fresh flood of immigration' from Bulgaria and Romania and his concerns that current immigrants are having a serious effect on the 'very nature of our community' deserve to be vigorously challenged.

"The major challenge for all of us is not to peddle the politics of myth and fear but to ensure that the rights of Irish and migrant workers are protected in tandem. Right across the European Union it has become acceptable to pit worker against worker. The recent treatment of workers at Irish Ferries is indicative of the unacceptable approach to workers rights throughout the EU. It is unacceptable and wholly inappropriate that whole workforces can be cast aside in favour of cheap and exploited migrant workers.

"I have written to DUP MEP Jim Allister inviting him to attend the conference on September 9th in order to put forward his views on the subject of migrant workers across the EU and would be interested in debating this issue with him either publicly or privately." ENDS

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