Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 03 November, 1998
Written Answers. - Academic Staff.
Mr. A. Reynolds Mr. A. Reynolds
177. Mr. A. Reynolds asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make representations to the Italian Government to discontinue discrimination against foreign lecturers, including Irish lecturers at Italian universities, and to dispute the introduction law 236 of 21 June 1995 in view of the serious problems to be rectified in this regard. [21254/98]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews) David Andrews
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Andrews): As the Deputy is no doubt aware, foreign lecturers, including several Irish lecturers, employed at a number of Italian universities have for a considerable time encountered difficulties in relation to their contracts and conditions of employment.
In December 1997, the European Commission decided to bring a case against Italy before the European Court of Justice regarding the acquired rights of foreign language lecturers in Italian universities. The Commission argued that in spite of a modification to Italian law in 1995 in response to previous rulings of the European Court of Justice about the contractual status of foreign language lecturers, a number of lecturers employed before 1995 were encountering significant difficulties in preserving their acquired rights. The Italian authorities informed the Commission on 11 August 1998 that the Italian Minister for Universities, Scientific Research and Technology had written to the rectors of Italian universities and directors of higher education, instructing the institutions concerned to respect the relevant acquired rights of foreign language lecturers.
Commissioner Flynn issued a statement on 21 September 1998 in which he welcomed the action of the Italian authorities. He said that, if swift and comprehensive action were not taken by the Italian  universities to bring their contractual arrangements into conformity with European law he would not hesitate to proceed with legal action.
In these circumstances, it would not be appropriate at this point to make representations to the Italian authorities. In consultation with the Minister of State with responsibility for labour affairs, consumer rights and international trade, Deputy Tom Kitt, I have asked the Permanent Representation of Ireland in Brussels to maintain regular contact with Commissioner Flynn's office and the Commission's Directorate General for Employment, Industrial Relations and Social Affairs and to impress on them our expectation that they will pursue the matter vigorously, with the aim of achieving a solution to the outstanding problems in the shortest possible time.
Dáil Éireann 495 Written Answers. Academic Staff.