April 28, 2022
Louise O’Reilly TD calls for director of National Gallery to appear before Workers’ Rights Committee

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that she has written to the Chair of the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee to ask that the director of the National Gallery of Ireland be called before the committee regarding an apparent threatening email he sent to staff at the gallery.

She further added that the Tánaiste, as Minister with responsibility for workers’ rights, should make immediate contact with the director regarding the contents of the email sent to staff.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“It has been reported in the Irish Times today that staff at the National Gallery of Ireland were warned by director, Sean Rainbird, to ‘think hard’ about raising concerns regarding the gallery’s activities after staff voiced concerns about the gallery entering into a contract with Aramark, due to the company’s links to the direct provision system.

“The email to staff stated that ‘if you think you have valid cause, think hard about the possible consequences before you initiate an action, and think carefully about how you raise the issue’.

“There is no other way to read the content of the email than as a threat to staff for raising valid concerns about the inhumane direct provision system and those who profit from it.

“The staff had every right to voice their concerns about the gallery engaging with Aramark, given its links to the direct provision system, especially considering the years of work the gallery put into building relations with asylum seekers and those in direct provision.

“Given the responsibility of the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee in matters pertaining to workers’ rights, I have today written to the chair calling a wider investigation into the treatment of workers in arts sector, especially in our public galleries, museums, theatres, libraries, and national broadcaster, and for Mr Rainbird to be called before the Committee as part of this.

“I would also call on the Tánaiste, as Minister with responsibility for workers’ rights, to immediately contact the director regarding the treatment of workers in the gallery and the threatening email which was issued to staff.”

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