Nash admits he knew of issues with trawlers
Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30
A Minister has admitted he was aware of issues surrounding the recruitment of migrants to work on trawlers off the Irish coast.
Business and Employment Minister Ged Nash said he had "been looking for some time now at how these issues have been addressed elsewhere".
He described the illegal use of African and Asian migrant workers as cheap labour on board some Irish vessels as "a major issue".
"This is an issue that some have been aware of for some time. I think the exposé in 'The Guardian' has shone a light into the dark recesses of how this industry can operate in some respects - and has been allowed to operate," he said.
"And where there are allegations of exploitation or abuse, they should be dealt with very, very quickly and very, very efficiently."
Mr Nash said that he would give "whatever support I can" to the new inter-departmental group that has been set up to probe the issue.
He promised to bring proposals to Cabinet aimed at dealing with so-called 'zero-hour' and 'if and when' contracts.
Marine Minister Simon Coveney said the interdepartmental group would be made up of officials from the Departments of Justice and Transport, as well as a representative from the Attorney General's office. It will meet tomorrow and will examine whether claims are being exaggerated.
Mr Coveney, who will chair the task force, said The Guardian's claims were "deeply concerning".