The Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney yesterday chaired the first meeting of the Government Taskforce on allegations regarding the treatment of workers on Irish Fishing Trawlers. Minister of State Ged Nash at the Department of Jobs, Employment and Innovation also attended the meeting.
The decision to establish a high level inter-departmental taskforce to examine the wide range of issues identified in the recent Guardian newspaper report, was taken at a Cabinet meeting earlier this week. The meeting which considered the complex issues arising from the Guardian article and discussed the most appropriate cross Departmental response, included high level representatives from the Departments of Justice, Jobs Enterprise & Innovation, Transport, Tourism and Sport and Agriculture, Food and Marine, the Attorney General’s office, An Garda Síochána, BIM, the Naval Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.
Speaking after the meeting, Minister Coveney, said, “this is an issue that the Government is committed to resolving. Already a lot of work has been done on tackling work and safety related issues in the fishing industry. Today this Task Force committed to produce a co-ordinated cross Departmental response. The issues covered were information sharing, enforcement, permitting, licensing, exploitation, and trafficking.”
The Minister added “It is essential firstly to establish a full understanding of the complex issues involved and the meeting today has allowed all the State Authorities to share information on their individual remit and experiences. I want to see a joined up State response. Where appropriate we need to take robust and proportionate immediate actions. We also need to develop any medium term changes to the regulatory and enforcement frameworks of the State”
The next meeting has been arranged for Thursday 12th November and it is planned to invite the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland, the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), a Guardian journalist and the four Fishermen’s Producer Organisations, to make individual presentations to the meeting.