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Sinn Féin propose motion in Dáil calling for European Ferries Directive

4 October, 2005

Sinn  Féin  spokesperson  on  Employment Arthur Morgan TD has called on the Government  to  adopt  a Sinn Féin motion before the Dáil that calls on the European  Commission to urgently introduce a European Ferries Directive, to deal with ships operating in European waters under flags of convenience.

Speaking  today  deputy Morgan said, "This morning I tabled a motion in the Dáil  on  behalf  of  the  five  Sinn  Féin  TD's  calling  on the European Commission  to  urgently  introduce a European Ferries Directive, to combat 'social  dumping'  on  ferries and set minimum labour standards in order to ensure  an  end  to  the  exploitation of workers on intra-EU Passenger and ferry services.

"Last  week,  when I raised the possibility of dealing with this issue at a European  level  with  the Minister of State with responsibility for Labour Affairs  Tom  Killeen  TD,  he  said  he  was 'quiet taken with the idea of dealing  with  this  at  European  Level' but he felt there was nothing the Government could do. Well now there is an opportunity for the Government to do  something  positive.   I  am asking the Government to give over time to discuss  this  motion  and  adopt  it  in order to increase pressure on the European  Commission to proceed with a Ferries Directive that was abandoned last  year  following  a  failure  to  reach  agreement  at  the Council of Ministers.

"A ferries Directive will not be delivered overnight nor does it represent a solution to the crisis at Irish Ferries but what is happening at Irish Ferries, including previous evidence of maltreatment of workers illustrates the urgent necessity for such a Directive.  It is not good enough for the Government to continually repeat their rhetoric about supporting workers rights while at the same time standing idly by and allowing Irish Ferries to exploit workers in this way. I would urge the Government to adopt this motion and all parties in the house to support it." ENDS

Text of motion below:

"That Dáil Éireann

-     Denounces the exploitation of workers on board ferries operating under flags of convenience out of Irish and EU ports.

-     Notes that a draft Directive on passenger and ferry services was proposed by the European Commission in April 1998 (COM/98/0251), approved by the European Parliament in March 1999 and that a revised proposal was issued in 2000 (COM/2000/0437), but withdrawn in August 2004 following the failure to reach a final agreement at the Council of Ministers.

-     Calls on the European Commission to urgently introduce a European Ferries Directive, to combat 'social dumping' on ferries and set minimum labour standards in order to ensure an end to the exploitation of workers on intra- EU Passenger and ferry services"

- Arthur Morgan, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Sean Crowe, Martin Ferris, Aengus Ó Snodaigh

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