Press Centre

MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS USE ART TO CALL FOR STATUTORY PROTECTIONS

PRESS RELEASE: 7 March 2007

A new photographic exhibition by Migrant Rights Centre Ireland’s (MRCI) Domestic Workers Support Group (DWSG) offers a unique insight into the lived experience of those who increasingly care for our children and older people, and makes visible their invaluable contribution to Irish society.

The DWSG is made up of migrant women employed in the private home as carers and childminders who have come together to address the barriers they face in accessing social and economic rights.  Through the exhibition the DWSG are calling for statutory protections that reflect the nature of their work. The gendered nature of domestic labour, a sector where migrant ethnic women dominate, and the isolation and invisibility of this employment, mean that they are at greater risk of exploitation. Lot Gernan, member of the DWSG, further explained that, ‘the poor regulation in this sector means that migrant domestic workers often endure poor and difficult working conditions, low earnings and discrimination’.

Edel McGinley, coordinator of the DWSG, said, ‘this exhibition highlights the contribution made by migrant domestic workers in Ireland. The group is currently seeking employers who are interested in being part of a negotiation process together with SIPTU to regulate pay, working hours and conditions for this sector’. Lot Gernan echoed these political aspirations  saying, ‘I hope that the policy makers and employers in this country will extend their hand and support us.’

With Opening Doors the DWSG have created a space where their voices can be heard, offering unique personal views into their experiences of living and working in Ireland. Collaborative photographic works highlight the many skills and abilities required in carrying out this work, while a multi-media textile installation entitled ‘Blurred Boundaries’ also highlights the difficulties experienced when living and working in the same space.

EVENT DETAILS:

Exhibition Opens: Thursday 8th March, 6.30pm.  Runs until 5th April ‘07

Venue: Gallery of Photography,Meeting House Square,Temple Bar,Dublin 2

ENDS