Focus Ireland backs call by the Construction Industry Federation for the Government to classify the construction of new homes as an essential occupation, within the context of good public health practice

Focus Ireland backed today’s call by the Construction Industry Federation that the Government should take particular care to recognise that the construction of new homes is an essential occupation and should be protected as much as possible, within the context of good public health practice.

However, the charity stressed that workers’ health has to be the number one priority and that construction companies needed to ensure facilities and work practices meet the required public health guidelines. There have been reports of some sites still operating that do not have enough hand washing facilities and these need to close unless this is addressed fully. Where sites have to close workers need to have access to financial support right away.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: ‘During the Global Financial Crisis, successive Governments took short-term measures which had long-term consequences which we are still living with today. To a large extent, today’s housing and homeless crisis is a result of decisions a decade ago to close down the building industry in a way that undermined the capacity and viability of many constructions enterprises. These measures seemed justified at the time but there was little consideration of the long-term implications. It has taken years to bring construction of homes back to life, and this capacity needs to be nurtured during the current health crisis.”

”The building of homes and public infrastructure need to be specifically recognised by Government as essential occupations and everything should be done to support these activities to continue and to ensure that the necessary public health practices and facilities are put in place to protect the workers fully.”

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