Réada Cronin TD says she is worried about workers in North Kildare being forced to work in non-essential, non-emergency jobs without the necessary opportunity for distancing and where masks are not enforced.
She said she has had a number of urgent contacts from constituents afraid for their own health, and that of their families and communities. All cite loose government instructions to employers, with too much room for interpretation, as a threat to their own and the public’s health, in a time when the virus is out of control in the state.
Among these contacts are people sharing cars and being bussed to non-essential and non-emergency work where human contact is involved, no proper distancing is possible and mask-wearing is not enforced.
She is calling on the government to issue immediate and absolute clarity on non-emergency work in order to protect workers’ health and therefore public health.
“We are in state of emergency with the virus. Our workers need emergency protection so they can, in turn, protect public health. I have constituents frantic about their welfare in non-essential work, being forced to work in circumstances that are clearly unsafe for them, and therefore, unsafe for the community, because of what they cite as the loose instructions and lax wording by the government given to employers. Many of these are already precarious workers, working in tenuous circumstances.”
“The virus doesn’t response to please and thank you. It responds to the laying down and keeping of strict rules and protections. Therefore, the government needs to issue strict instructions to employers regarding non-essential and non-emergency workers that will ensure their safety and therefore public safety. They are citizens. They deserve and require protection.”
“We live in each other’s shelter. None of us is safe until everyone is safe. If we protect our workers, we protect our community, our families, our hospitals, our healthcare workers. We also protect jobs, the economy and prosperity into the future. The health of our economy depends on the health of our people. We can recover quicker if we look after each other. We must eliminate all unnecessary contacts and this includes non-essential, non-emergency work.”
She said she was writing to the Minister for Health and the Tánaiste so that the absolute clarity necessary to protect our workers, families and the people of North Kildare can be achieved.
“Their loose talk in their instructions to employers could cost lives,” she added.