Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (7, 8, 9)

Mick Barry

Question:

7. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of inspections carried out by the Workplace Relations Commission on Irish-flagged fishing vessels from January 2020 to December 2020; the number of prosecutions subsequently initiated by the Workplace Relations Commission as a result of these inspections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2316/21]

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Mick Barry

Question:

8. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of undocumented fishers discovered on board vessels during inspections on Irish-flagged fishing vessels from January to December 2020 within the scope of the inspection powers of the Workplace Relations Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2317/21]

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Mick Barry

Question:

9. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if concerns emerged about matters that fell within the scope of the Marine Survey Office in the course of Workplace Relation Commission inspections of Irish-flagged fishing vessels from January to December 2020; the number of referrals made by the Workplace Relations Commission to the Marine Survey Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2318/21]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 to 9, inclusive, together.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) contributes to multi-agency efforts to enforce the Atypical Worker Permission Scheme for Non-EEA Workers engaged on certain Irish-registered whitefish fishing vessels.

In terms of fisher activity, 31 desktop inspections and two on-board inspections were completed in 2020, covering some 37 vessels coming within the scope of the Atypical Scheme. Some 36 contraventions of employment rights or employment permits legislation, relating to 19 vessel owners, were detected in 2020.

WRC Inspectors, with the assistance in certain cases of the Naval Service and/or based on owners’ records, detected 5 instances in 2020 in which fishers did not have permission to work in the State.

During 2020, some 64 fisheries investigations/cases, covering 71 vessels coming within the scope of the Atypical Scheme, were closed. Contraventions were detected in 25 of those cases; in 22 of which compliance was achieved following engagement with the vessel owners while prosecutions were initiated in the other three cases.

Five referrals were made by the WRC to the Marine Survey Office in 2020 and one to date in 2021, bringing to 36 the total number of such referrals made since an agreement was reached between the WRC and the MSO in April 2019 regarding liaison on working time issues.