Mind the Brexit Gap: Speech of Speech of Valentina Kackiuka – Latvian Migrant, Sheelin Mushrooms Picker/Packer

My name is Valentina and I was born in Latvia. I grew up in a small town called Valka. I came to Ireland 15 years ago with my 4 year old daughter Monika. I wanted to give her the best start in life I could. I heard if you worked hard in Ireland, you could get a fair wage. So we arrived here in December and in a few days I was working in the agri-food business in Cavan. I’ve been there for the last 14 years and my daughter Monika, who is now 19, has just finished studying make up artistry in Dublin. We both love Ireland and consider it home. I believe in working hard, taking care of each other, and providing the best possible future for our children. I see the world through Monika’s eyes, and I want her to have as much stability as possible. I think this is every mother’s dream. I believe in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I also believe in honesty, loyalty and integrity. The news about Brexit has been confusing and has created uncertainty in our lives. We don’t fully understand its implications, but we do know that our business might be affected. If there is a hard border, the mushroom business will be hit and we might be out of a job. This means many of us will need to find jobs or return to Latvia. We have worked hard to make a home here, and we want to continue. More importantly our children have grown up here. They have all their friends, connections and future in Ireland.