High Court decision on forced labour shows urgent need for legislative action
Issued : Friday 31 August, 2012
Today's High Court decision to quash an award of €92,000 made by the Labour Court in respect of a Pakistani Chef shows the urgent need for amending legislation to be introduced to ensure that this legal loophole in respect of forced labour is permanently closed.
It is a disgrace that the employer in this case has succeeded in walking away with this decision, and it is now the responsibility of the political system to respond.
I welcome the actions of the judge in forwarding his decision to the relevant office-holders within the Oireachtas.
I have previously raised the issue on the floor of the Dáil* and it is now clear that the Employment Permits Act of 2003 needs immediate revision and necessary amendments need to be made.
I intend to bring such amended legislation to the floor of the Dáil at the earliest opportunity in the coming weeks and to again raise the matter with the Minister for Justice.
It is also now clear that a specific stand alone offence against forced labour is now required.
It is an insult to our Republic that effective slavery continues in this country and that our courts are seemingly powerless to stop it.
* Aodhán previously speaking in the Dáil on the rights of migrant workers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJOWz5OJ7mI)
* Aodhán addressing protest outside Dáil on issue of Forced Labour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_K9cgAAVfc