Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith TD is calling on Minister Charlie Flanagan to seek assurances from the diplomatic corps that they will respect and uphold the laws of this State, including employment regulations.  Deputy Smith made the comments following a ruling from the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which found that the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Ireland had breached work rights legislation and fined him €240,000.

Deputy Smith stated, “This case has thrown the issue of diplomatic immunity and workers’ rights into the spotlight and raises serious questions about the manner in which workers employed by some embassy officials are treated.  While we acknowledge the international law surrounding diplomatic immunity of embassies and their staff, this immunity is not absolute. There must, at all times, be a basic regard and respect for all staff in embassies, particularly contract and service staff, who may be vulnerable to employment abuse.

“The Vienna Convention sets out a framework for diplomatic relations between States, and it is extremely important that this Treaty is not subject to abuse.  Minister Flanagan must ensure that all diplomatic missions are made aware of their responsibilities under this international Treaty, and emphasise to them that they must respect and uphold all Irish laws, including workplace legislation and regulations.

“It may be time to review the terms of the Vienna Convention to guarantee the rights of staff who are contracted to provide services to diplomatic staff.  It is imperative that diplomatic immunity is not abused or taken for granted”.