Covid-19: Construction body warns of frustration ‘boiling over’ in sector

A lot of construction workers apparently ‘out doing nixers’, Tom Parlon says

The construction sector will likely remain substantially closed aside from current exemptions. File photograph: The Irish Times

The construction sector will likely remain substantially closed aside from current exemptions. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has warned that people in the sector will take chances over work unless the Government gives a clear indication of when the construction sector can reopen.

According to Tom Parlon, CIF director general, frustration was “boiling over” in the sector, but he remained hopeful that “common sense will prevail”.

Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show, Mr Parlon said anecdotally he had heard that a lot of construction workers were “out doing nixers” locally, and that this was “a hell of a lot less safe” than on a regulated site.

The construction sector was open all over the world – in the UK, across Europe and in the United States, Mr Parlon said, adding this a “safe sector”.

“I don’t want to be whining, this decision should be evidence based,” Mr Parlon said.

He pointed out 40 per cent of construction sites remained open as they were deemed “essential”, but there had been only 42 cases because the sector had safe processes in place.

Construction companies had kept on key staff who they were paying, and there would be “serious” layoffs and redundancies if sites could not reopen, he said.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin will announce an extension of the present lockdown for at least a month on Tuesday, once the Cabinet approves the updated plan for “living with Covid”.

Restrictions will be extended to April 5th, when there will be a review looking at the potential for easing the measures.

The construction sector will likely remain substantially closed aside from current exemptions, despite a last-minute push to allow work on private individual house completions.

There are growing concerns in Government about dwindling compliance with some aspects of Covid-19 regulations as fatigue sets in among the population.

Data published on Monday shows one-third of the population are not staying within 10km of their homes, and the level of adherence to restrictions has been decreasing during February.