Filipino fisherman to meet Minister on migrant abuses
An undocumented Filipino fisherman who lost his job when inspectors boarded his employer's trawler last week is to meet the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine on Thursday.
The fisherman, will be part of a delegation from the Migrants Rights Centre that will highlight abuses in the fishing industry to the Minister's new task force.
He will tell Simon Coveney how he travelled to Northern Ireland, where his passport was confiscated by his employer and he worked in poor conditions.
He eventually escaped and worked on trawlers in Howth and most recently in Wexford as an expert mender of nets, sending home €200 to €300 a month to his family in the Philippines. His employer tried to regularise his situation but the Filipino fisherman was unable to get a work permit because he was undocumented.
The trawler he worked on was inspected the day after the Guardian newspaper focused international attention on abuses suffered by migrants working illegally on Irish trawlers, including low pay, long hours, sleep deprivation and poor training.
He faces deportation but the Migrants Rights Centre wants the minister to introduce an amnesty for undocumented fishermen already in Ireland.
Minister Coveney set up a task force to address the problem. Ken Fleming, of the International Transport Workers Federation, accused the authorities of "turning a blind eye" to trawlers using trafficked migrant workers from Africa and Asia which he has been trying to highlight for years. Fleming is also to give a presentation to the task force on Thursday.
The Migrants Rights Centre is assessing 17 cases of migrant workers in the fishing industry. The Garda National Bureau of Immigration is also examining cases of immigration abuses and suspected trafficking in the sector.