is estimated that over 10 000 illegal immigrants who
neither have a work permit or have applied for asylum
are being employed in the 26 counties economy (Sunday
Tribune 6 October 2002). They often work in precarious
jobs, at very low wages and in difficult conditions.
immigrants are a source of cheap labour and a good
means to create division in the working class. If
they refuse their condition, the employers can threaten
to denounce them to the Gardai. Illegal immigrants
are even more vulnerable because there are no legal
sanctions for the employers who exploit them, apart
from tiny fines up to 250 Euro!
James Connolly's day, there had been an influx in
Ireland of immigrants from Eastern Europe, mostly
Jews fleeing persecutions. Connolly had his party's
programme translated into Yiddish, because he thought
it very important that immigrant workers be organised
to fight in the class struggle.
there are 10 000 illegal immigrants among the Irish
working class. Added to all legal immigrants, this
makes a significant amount of workers that are, for
the majority, outside trade union and political structures.
Republican Socialists should reach out and defend
this immigrant Irish working class both against racism
and exploitation by Irish employers. What can be done?
Republican Socialists could organise to name and shame
those employers, and campaign that any employer found
guilty of paying illegal workers below the minimum
wage should be prosecuted irrespective of whether
the person is entitled to be in the country or not.
is our task to win those immigrants to the cause of
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