Thursday, 20 June 1991
Dáil Éireann Debate
46. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Labour if he will outline the action being taken on the proposal in paragraph 272 of NESC Report No. 90 that there should be an EC funded project to build a close working relationship between FÁS and the equivalent United Kingdom manpower authorities on the transitional problems faced by Irish emigrants to the United Kingdom.
Minister for Labour (Mr. B. Ahern: Following consideration of a report on the difficulties encountered by Irish emigrants going to Great Britain, a working party comprising representatives of FÁS, the British Employment Service and voluntary organisations recommended the setting up of a transfrontier committee (TFC) to oversee migratory movements between Ireland and Britain.
Such committees have already been established in other member states which have a high degree of labour mobility such as France and Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. They are supported and funded by the European Community. They comprise a combination of employment, training and careers staff of both countries.
The committees' main functions are to examine and to identify the difficulties and barriers encountered by workers in the context of promoting the free movement of workers within the Community and to initiate action and solutions to mitigate or eliminate such difficulties.
The UK-Ireland Committee is made up of representatives from the UK Employment Service and Department of Employment Training Directorate, FÁS and representatives from the voluntary sector in both countries.
The agreed terms of reference of the committee are as follows: to provide  appropriate support for workers seeking to move between Ireland and the United Kingdom; to minimise the difficulties of entry to employment and training markets by arriving or returning migrants by identifying the needs of migrant workers in order to enable the provision of an easily identifiable and readily accessible series of services and activities, e.g., placement, training, counselling and information on the labour markets in Ireland and the United Kingdom; devising ways and means whereby the availability of such services can be brought to the attention of the public at large; advising on and promoting pre-departure information and placement services in Ireland including the discouragement of unplanned and involuntary migration from Ireland.
At their first meeting the committee considered a number of possible initiatives relating to preventing unplanned migration, providing services for arriving migrants and improving the flow of information between relevant agencies. The Inter-Parliamentary Group established under the Anglo-Irish Agreement have welcomed this initiative.
The setting up of the committee represents a further step on behalf of the Government to improve the information and advisory services for emigrants in line with recent recommendations made by the National Economic and Social Council in their report on migration.
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