Irish Examiner - - Front Page - Ann O’Lough­lin

There was out­rage from those of­fended by gay peo­ple tak­ing of­fence to the term ‘fag­got’. This man­i­fests in ac­cu­sa­tions of ‘po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness gone mad’. Page 2

A bid by the In­ter­na­tional Trans­port Work­ers Fed­er­a­tion (ITF) for an in­junc­tion against the State over a work per­mit scheme it claims is al­low­ing mi­grant fish­er­men to be ex­ploited and traf­ficked has been dis­missed by the High Court.

Mr Jus­tice Tony O’Con­nor, in re­fus­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion, said he ac­cepted the ITF may be try­ing to pre­vent some­thing that is one of “the world’s worst hu­man rights abuses”, namely hu­man traf­fick­ing of mi­grant work­ers.

How­ever, the court “could not ig­nore that stark warn­ing given by re­spon­si­ble ofthat of State bod­ies about the ad­verse ef­fect on those non-EEA work­ers who can ben­e­fit from the pro­tec­tions hav­ing joined the scheme”.

The judge said he did not ac­cept ev­i­dence on be­half of the IT Ft hat the scheme could be amended in or­der to ac­com­mo­date those work­ers who ben­e­fit from it.

He held that the ITF, at this stage, had not es­tab­lished a strong case of prob­a­bil­ity that the ap­pre­hended mis­chief will arise from the scheme which it wants to be deleted.

The ITF had sought an or­der re­strain­ing the jus­tice minister from grant­ing or re­view­ing any fur­ther per- mis­sions un­der the scheme, known as the atyp­i­cal work­ing scheme for non-EEA crew in the Ir­ish fish­ing fleet which are con­di­tional on an em­ployee re­main­ing in the em­ploy­ment of a par­tic­u­lar em­ployer or ves­sel.

The IT F, in its ac­tion against the minister, Ire­land, and at­tor­ney gen­eral claims mi­grant fish­er­men work­ing on Ir­ish-reg­is­tered trawlers were ex­ploited, un­der­paid, racially abused, worked to ex­haus­tion, and in some cases had been as­saulted to a de­gree that their work­ing con­di­tions were akin to “mod­ern slav­ery”.

In a pre­lim­i­nary ap­pli­ca­tion, the ITF, which reprefi­cers sents unions and trans­port work­ers all over the world, asked the court for the in­junc­tion to be put in place pend­ing the fi­nal out­come of the ac­tion, which is due to be heard some­time next year.

The scheme was in­tro­duced by the Gov­ern­ment in 2016 fol­low­ing the ex­ploita­tion of work­ers within the Ir­ish fish­ing in­dus­try ex­posed in a UK news­pa­per.

The ITF claims the scheme does not pro­tect work­ers from ex­ploita­tion and hu­man traf­fick­ing. It says there are more than a dozen cases of po­ten­tial hu­man traf­fick­ing aris­ing from the scheme that are the sub­ject of crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The State op­posed the ap­pli­ca­tion and de­nied the ITF claims in re­la­tion to the scheme. It ar­gued the in­junc­tion, if granted, could put non-E EA fisher men in greater risk and dan­ger of ex­ploita­tion be­cause in­spec­tors would have no power to en­force em­ploy­ment rights, that fu­ture work­ers in the sec­tor could be de­ported, and that the sus­pen­sion of the scheme could have an im­pact on cases cur­rently be­fore the courts.

In his rul­ing, the judge said when it came to as­sess­ing where the great risk of in­jus­tice lay, he had to take re­gard of cer­tain fac­tors in­clud­ing giv­ing weight to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme has a prima fa­cie va­lid­ity.

The court also had to take into ac­count the safe­guards in place to dis­cour­age, in­ves­ti­gate, and pros­e­cute traf­fick­ing, the ex­tent of which was not chal­lenged in the ap­pli­ca­tion, he said.

It fur­ther had to take into ac­count the in­ter­est in hear­ing from those ac­tu­ally af­fected by the sus­pen­sion of the scheme.

When all these fac­tors are taken into ac­count, the judge said he was re­fus­ing the in­junc­tion.

The case will be men­tioned be­fore the court in Fe­bru­ary.

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