Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Redundancy Payments.

9.

asked the Minister for Labour if, since the Italian Government are a major shareholder in the parent company of a firm (details supplied), the Government have made any approaches to them regarding the non-payment of redundancy payments to the workers who have been laid off from the plant.

I do not consider it necessary to make an approach on the lines suggested by the Deputy in order to secure payment of any redundancy lump sums to which the workers are statutorily entitled. If the company refuse or fail to pay such lump sums, the workers concerned are entitled to claim payment from the redundancy fund, administered by my Department.

As I have indicated in reply to the previous question, the point at issue in these cases concerns the entitlement at this stage to statutory redundancy payments. This matter is the subject of a number of appeals to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which will be decided shortly.

This question relates to the same situation and the same company as the previous question. I am sure the Minister will accept that on the face of it this company has been closed for two years. Promises have been made from time to time that it was going to re-open but the latest information is that it is not going to re-open. Will the Minister take it upon himself to intervene directly to encourage Snia to pay the workers the redundancy to which they are entitled and to ensure that the affairs of the company are properly wound up so that at the very least workers, some of whom have given ten years of their lives to the company, will not be left high and dry?

The matter is to be decided within the next month by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. I would be very reluctant to intervene in that process until the normal due process had been carried out. The President of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union has written to me in relation to this matter. I am aware of the concern that has been expressed by that union. I will certainly take into account the comments made by the Deputy and do what I can to ensure that workers' rights are properly protected.

Will the Minister not agree that because the Italian Government have a major share in this company it would be preferable that the Minister would seek payment of any money due to the workers from or through the Italian Government or one of its agencies rather than from the Minister's own fund which is financed out of public funds here? Should that situation arise will the Minister agree that through his own office, or that of his colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he will make the appropriate representation in ease of the Irish taxpayer so that an Italian Government institution will honour their responsibilities to their workers here?

I should like to tell the Deputy that I will be happy to respond to that situation should the need arise along the lines suggested by him.