May 20, 2020
There can be no upstairs/downstairs approach to health and safety – Louise O’Reilly TD

Louise OR' ReillySinn Féin spokesperson on Health Louise O’Reilly has said that health and safety advice for workplaces should be consistent across all sectors and that there can be no case where there are protections for politicians that are not available to other workers.

Speaking today, Teachta O’Reilly said: “As society and the economy begins to reopen, many people will return to offices, factories, shops, building sites and other workplaces.

“People who had been stood down from work, or are working from home, will now return to workplaces where it will be more challenging to adhere to social distancing and other precautionary health measures.

“It is very important that all employers ensure that the health advice from government is adhered to, and that no difficulties are put in the way of people working in a safe and secure manner in a healthy and safe environment.

“In order to allow for this, it is important that definitive health and safety advice is provided for the different sectors of the economy as it reopens.  

“This health and safety advice must be universal – there can be no upstairs/downstairs or two-tier advice given.

“Yesterday, we saw worrying evidence of this when members of the Oireachtas Covid-19 Committee were told that they could not hold meetings for longer than two hours.

“They were further told that if any person present in the committee meetings for longer than two hours contracted Covid-19, then those who were in their presence for over two hours would have to self-isolate for 14 days.

“This advice for TDs is in total contrast to the advice that workers are getting in other jobs.

“Workers in meat factories and building sites are certainly not getting the same advice from the government, despite facing the same exposure.

“Workers need to be assured that they will be protected when they return to work and the only way to do this is for the government to ensure that there is a uniformity to the advice given and there there are no double standards applied.”

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