Sinn Féin TD defends migrant workers at Keelings as Govt orders review of situation

Sinn Féin TD defends migrant workers at Keelings as Govt orders review of situation

A Sinn Féin TD has defended the migrant workers from Eastern Europe who have come to Ireland to pick fruit while much of the country remains on lockdown.

Louise O'Reilly's comments come as the government has ordered an urgent review of restrictions at airports, after an outcry about nearly 200 fruit-pickers being flown into Dublin earlier this week.

The flight from Bulgaria was chartered from Ryanair to bring in workers for Keelings in north Co Dublin.

Last night, the State's Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said the flight was contrary to public health advice during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We don't want to see any other form of travel coming through the ports or the airports other than those sorts of categories and that has been our clear recommendation," he said.

"Anybody who is coming through the airport that is in the categories that we identified, we see the public health advice that we have given as applying to those individuals."

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly says the workers involved have been placed in an awful position.

"I would challenge the view that just because they come back that means that they're happy or indeed content with the work or the wages," she said.

"I think that might be reflective of their situation at home rather than any love they have for picking fruit for 10, 12 hours a day," she added.

Health Minister Simon Harris says he feels uneasy about the incident.

"I know that the company said that they were quarantining and follow public health advice for 14 days but I don't feel comfortable with it," he said.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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