Dublin MEP in Kazakhstan, but not on holidays

July 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Socialist MEP Paul Murphy hit the international headlines this week during a trip to Kazakhstan, when he took issue with reports in the Kazakhstan national press that he was only visiting the country “in a personal capacity”.
The 27 year old Dubliner responded that the release was “an attempt to undermine the purpose of my visit” which was to investigate ongoing workers’ rights abuses in the country as part of delegation of MEPs.
Mr Murphy’s left-wing political grouping within the European Parliament, the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group, also rushed to his defence, issuing a press release to confirm that the Irish MEP was on an official delegation to meet with Kazakh trade union representatives and activists.
Speaking from Kazakhstan, Mr Murphy insisted that he had always been clear about the purpose of his visit. “We made it clear to the Kazakhstan embassy in Belgium prior to our departure and we have re-stated this in our meetings with the governor of Mangistau and the Deputy of the Kazakhstan Parliament,” he said.
Mr Murphy also found himself in hot water over a report in the United Press International where he was alleged to have claimed that 4,000 Kazakhstan oil workers were on strike. The oil company in question claimed that Mr Murphy’s statement “did not conform to reality” as only 850 people had failed to report for work out of staff total of over 9,000 people.
Labour disputes within Kazakhstan’s booming oil industry have been on the increase in recent years, with many workers complaining that they are paid a fraction of the salaries of their Western colleagues.
Mr Murphy is due to report back to the European Parliament on his visit when he returns from Kazakhstan.

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