Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North West, Paul McAuliffe, has called on the government and Dublin fruit company Keelings to answer public concerns regarding the decision to bring seasonal fruit workers from Bulgaria to carry out a strawberry harvest at the north Dublin facility.
Deputy McAuliffe said: “Members of the public have contacted me with real concerns about large numbers of seasonal workers arriving in Dublin airport. These workers have all clearly travelled more than the 2kms from their home and while the work they carry out may be deemed to be essential, I do not believe that it was essential during this crisis to move such a large number of people more than 2km and across the continent.”
“I am calling on the company to issue a far more detailed statement outlining the precise measures which have been taken to protect the workers and those in our community. I simply do not believe that this measure was necessary to save the fruit crops from spoiling. Given the historically high level of local unemployment, the desire by many people to be active and the national spirit to work together, it was not beyond the company’s ability to harvest their crop in another way.
“Keelings are a valuable local employer and they support many local communities but, on this issue, I regret they have shown poor judgement. I will be seeking clarification from the government to see if any specific permission was granted for this operation.
“The free movement of people and workers in the European Union is an essential and important principle and nothing I say should be taken as me undermining that principle in normal times, but these are not normal times,” concluded Deputy McAuliffe.