Loss of 700 to 800 new houses being built every week while the sector is closed, Minister says. The Government is hopeful that the construction sector will be able to restart work from March 5th, in a partial easing of strict lockdown restrictions.
Speaking on Monday, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the Government was working towards reopening the sector in four weeks’ time.
“We want the sector to open as quickly and as safely as possible . . . It is essential in my view,” he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.
There was a loss of 700 to 800 new houses being built every week while the sector remained closed, he said.
Construction sites had previously shown they were able to operate safely, and Mr. O’Brien said he was confident that they would reopen on March 5th.
In late January the Government extended current Level 5 Covid-19 restrictions until March 5th, although it is expected the majority of restrictions to curb the spread of the virus will be extended again beyond that point.
Construction sites have been closed for a number of weeks, with exceptions for essential health projects, critical infrastructure repairs and key social housing developments.
Plumbers and electricians have also been permitted to continue with emergency call-outs to homes and businesses.
Previously the Cabinet decided non-essential construction would cease on January 8th, as the spread of Covid-19 and rapidly rising case numbers threatened to overwhelm the healthcare system.
Credit: Jack Power & Vivienne Clarke | Government hopeful construction sector will reopen on March 5th | The Irish Times | IrishTimes.ie