Backlash Against Imported Fruit Pickers

There has been a significant backlash against an Irish fruit company over its decision to fly Bulgarian fruit pickers to work in Ireland.

The company at the heart of the criticism, Keelings, chartered a flight on which workers were flown from Sofia to Ireland on April 13 to work on farms in the coming months.

The company said in a statement: ‘Across our entire business we have also worked tirelessly to implement the HSE and Government guidelines to ensure we are protecting the health of all of our people.

‘This includes thorough & repeated COVID-19 safety coaching and instruction to follow all the HSE guidelines, which includes 14 days of restricted movement for any new arrivals in the country, prior to starting work in Keelings.

‘A very important part of our workforce for many years has been our skilled seasonal workers who return to us to help pick our fruit and manage our plant health.

We understand the concern in the current environment regarding both social distancing and local employment.

‘We want to assure the public that we are doing all we can to help support local employment at this time and to ensure the safety of all our workers.

‘We again want to assure people that no horticulture worker coming from another region will be asked to work without a full 14 days restricted movement.’

Responding to criticism, Ryanair said that it complied with EASA and WHO regulations in relation to the transport of the workers in the COVID-19 climate.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the Dublin Airport Authority said: ‘The State’s health and travel policies in relation to COVID-19 are decided by the Irish Government and Dublin Airport has been complying fully with those guidelines since the start of the public health crisis.

What is missing from this narrative is the fact that many Irish people and their small businesses also rely on important staff who are in lockdown and their livelihoods in peril. 

Given the fact that most Irish people cannot travel beyond 2km unless they work in an essential capacity, bare in mind that many Irish who do work in essential services have been furloughed, why then are fruit pickers from abroad brought in to work while essential staff in Ireland are not? Many pharmaceutical companies and medical device corporations have staff worried sick in their homes on COVID 19 payments?

Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.....sounds Familiar doesn't it Mr Orwell?



Commentary from Bosco


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