Construction of large building in ireland

Leading construction firms say ban on non-essential construction is damaging Ireland’s international reputation

The country’s leading construction companies are warning the ban on non-essential construction is damaging Ireland’s international reputation and putting future foreign direct investment at risk.

In a letter to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Construction Industry Federation director general, Tom Parlon, asked the Government to reconsider the extension of the ban on non-essential building work.

The letter, signed by the country’s biggest construction firms, warned the extension of the ban will “damage Ireland’s reputation and reduce foreign direct investment as no other country has locked down construction”.

It said future housing supply will be reduced by 800 homes a week and the ban will “wipe over €3bn of construction output from the Exchequer”.

It also said the ban threatened the National Development Plan.

“I urge you to consider the evidence of our ability to work safely and let the industry return to work so we can positively contribute to the economy, relieve the housing crisis, and build the infrastructure essential to Ireland’s recovery,” Mr Parlon said.

Since last September, Mr Parlon said eight people have been admitted to hospital, five of whom were transferred to ICU, after becoming infected with Covid-19 due to construction work.

He said there have been 42 positive cases since January with 40pc of the industry operating due to Government restrictions.

“The lack of cases and outbreaks on construction sites renders any concerns about mobility of the construction workforce moot. Due to our safety protocol, workers with symptoms are largely staying at home,” he added.

Mr Parlon said voluntary testing regimes are catching low numbers of asymptomatic people on construction sites.

“If mobility is a key concern, there are other sectors with larger workforces, and relatively minimal safety protocols, operating at full capacity. In comparison, the construction industry is inherently safe on a mobility basis as the lack of clusters and cases show,” he said.

The letter was signed by Sisk chief operating officer Donal McCarthy, JJ Rhatigan managing director Padraic Rhatigan, BAM chief executive Theo Cullinane, John Paul Construction managing director Liam Kenny and Designer Group chief executive Michael Stone among others

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Credit: Philip Ryan | The Independent | Independent.ie