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New rules to stop diplomats exploiting servants following 'slavery' claims

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Ms Thobeka Diamini.

Ms Thobeka Diamini.

Ms Thobeka Diamini.

NEW rules have been introduced by the Government to prevent the abuse of domestic staff by diplomats.

The move comes after at least eight cases in recent years where domestic slavery claims were made against foreign diplomats living here.

The most recent involved the former charges d’affaires of the South African embassy, Thobeka Dlamimi, who is alleged to have paid a servant just €1.66 an hour and forced her to work 17-hour days.

The diplomat, who disputes the claims, left the country for a new post earlier this year after the allegations were revealed by the Irish Independent.

Under the new rules, which campaigners have been seeking for years, diplomats will have to agree to abide by Irish employment law, including the minimum wage.

Prospective employees will have to be 21 or older and must not be related to the diplomat or their spouse.

The diplomat will also have to provide comprehensive health and accident insurance plans for the employee.

The new measures have been welcomed by the Migrant Rights Centre of Ireland.

“This is about creating a culture of rights for foreign domestic workers. It will require monitoring, but we believe this will have a strong impact and improve the lives of domestic workers coming to work here for diplomats,” said spokesperson Grainne O’Toole.

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