Press Centre

Equality the Key to Real Integration in Dublin City

PRESS RELEASE: 27 September 2007

MRCI report highlights inequalities faced by migrant workers doing essential work in Dublin City

A report to be launched today by Minister Conor Lenihan, T.D. shows that inequalities experienced by migrant workers in Dublin city need to be addressed before meaningful integration can take place. The report by Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI), supported by Dublin City Council,  uncovers the lived experiences of migrant workers carrying out essential, low-paid work in Dublin, and highlights inequalities they are facing both in the workplace, and in accessing key public services.

The sectors examined were all essential to the running of Dublin city, including retail, hospitality, care work, cleaning, and construction labourers. Many workers in these sectors claim that they are experiencing poor employment conditions, such as lack of written contracts, and not receiving overtime or sick pay.  This is compounded by the fact that much of this work is being subcontracted to agencies. According to Jacqueline Healy, Acting Director of the MRCI, “migrant workers who keep Dublin running are often being treated as second class, and this is seriously impairing their capacity to integrate both inside and outside the workplace.”

Whilst poor employment conditions were a key concern, the report also identifies worrying trends such as migrant workers feeling a general sense of isolation and little control over the decisions affecting their daily lives.  Reasons for this included a lack of access to information, language barriers, and difficulties accessing key public services. Workers also experienced delays and lack of transparency regarding decisions on work permits and residency visas. “How can migrant workers be expected to feel secure in Ireland, when we are treated badly in the workplace, and don’t have the same rights as Irish people to have their families with them, to access education, etc?” , asks one of the migrant workers interviewed in this study.

According to Ms Healy, “it is clear that with equal access to information and key services, migrant workers can improve their circumstances”.  She went on to point out that, as our reliance on migrant workers to carry out essential work will continue to increase, cities and local governance structures have an increasingly important role to play in creating the conditions for migrant workers to participate fully in their local communities. There has to be an equal playing field, in the workplace and in accessing services, before migrant workers can feel secure and meaningful integration can take place.”

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Notes for Editors:

Full Title of Report: Realising Integration: Migrant Workers Undertaking Essential Low-Paid Work inDublinCity

Venue: The Atrium,Dublin City Council, Civic Offices, Wood Quay,Dublin 8

Date & Time: Thursday 27th September ’07, at 11:00 am

Speakers:

Minister Conor Lenihan, TD, Minister for Integration

Gerry Folan,DublinCityDevelopment Board

Olga Dubyna, MRCI

Helen Lowry, MRCI