Undocumented workers

Sir, – One remarkable aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic is how it is revealing the extent of the true value of ordinary workers to the actual functioning of societies.

Patrick Freyne's article "Essential but undocumented" (News Review, May 2nd) exposes the reliance that Irish society has on undocumented migrant workers.

These mainly female migrant workers are providing vital services in the home-care of our elderly citizens and to children of essential healthcare workers, care that were it not being provided by them would be an additional burden on our dysfunctional healthcare and childcare systems.

Meanwhile they live in fear and are often underpaid and exploited by unscrupulous employers, as testified in research by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland .

They cannot visit their loved ones abroad and their undocumented children cannot attend third-level college here. Yet their services are essential and are a welcome respite to so many people in Ireland.

There is a simple solution here – immediately regularise their status and give them work permits.

Or in the case of Debra, interviewed for Patrick Freyne’s article, who has been working here for the last 14 years, grant her Irish citizenship now.

The essential care by these migrant workers is becoming more important as the Irish population ages.

The regularisation of their status must be an urgent priority of the next government. They deserve no less. – Yours, etc,

JIM ROCHE,

Dublin 8.