Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, has called on the government to “give consideration to the construction sector”.
The deputy made the request in light of ongoing Covid-19 restrictive measures in Ireland.
He recently spoke to small subcontractors, who are “on the verge of going bust”, because of regulations.
He said construction workers are leaving Ireland in “droves” because England is at “full bore and there is no point in staying”.
“We live in a country where a group of workers from Northern Ireland can come down here every day, go into every shop in this country and work on a social housing scheme under contract to the Irish State but Paddy, in this country, is now considering going across to England to work because sites have been shut down.”
“We live in an Ireland where people are coming in and going out. I spoke last night to a young couple in Donegal. They are living in a caravan that is damp and are expecting a baby on April 1st next.”
“They cannot get an electrician for two days to finish their house out in the countryside in order that they can live in it. We live in a country where a person who was roofing a house in Portumna was told by a member of An Garda Síochána to go.”
He stressed that Ireland “needs to wake up and cop on to the plight of our own people”.
“We must also remember that there are companies in Ireland employing electricians who go off to work for three weeks and come home for one. Will they not be allowed to see their families?”
“Builders and construction workers are like birds; they go where the work is. People do not understand that we need subcontractors to do the groundwork and shift the muck in the construction sector.”
“They have major payments to make because their equipment is leased. There is no moratorium in place in that regard. Everybody is talking about the employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS, and the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP, and all of this kind of stuff coming out.”
“Let us drill down, however, into what payments these people have. There is nothing contained in those payments to help these subcontractors.”
“One would nearly have to throw the virus at one person roofing a house in Portumna to infect him or her. The statistics in this regard should be examined.”
Fitzmaurice said he does not blame Minister Donnelly, but stressed the “big” issue is “the way the EU has gone about doing its deals” which he described as an “unmitigated disaster”.
“If we went down to marts in Castlerea or Roscommon, got some of those dealers and brought them to deal with the vaccine suppliers, we would have got better results.”
“We should be looking outside to see if we can do deals with whosoever have vaccines. From what I see, some of those in Europe do not have a clue what they are at.” Fitzmaurice added.