February 10, 2021
Varadkar comments that Covid stopped him from resolving collective redundancy issues “nonsense” – Louise O’Reilly TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment Louise O’Reilly TD has said that comments by An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, that the pandemic stopped him from sorting out collective redundancy issues are “total nonsense”.

Speaking this afternoon, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“In an interview with the Irish Times today, An Tánaiste exclaimed that due to Covid-19 ‘all the regular things you do as a minister are all gone, from trying to sort out a collective redundancy issue by talking to all the workers on the ground’.

“Let me be abundantly clear, nothing stood between An Tánaiste, the person responsible for workers’ rights in this Government, and resolving collective redundancy issues such as Debenhams.

“What’s more, An Tánaiste Varadkar sat in Government during the Clerys saga, he saw this happen before, and yet neither he, nor his Governments, introduced legislation to stop similar situations occurring again.

“We have the Debenhams dispute because two successive Governments didn’t see fit to legislate to stop collective agreements being reneged on in the aftermath of Clerys.

“Now An Tánaiste tells the nation that Covid has tied his hands from resolving such issues. As an ex-Trade Union official, I can tell you these comments are total nonsense. 

“The opportunity to do right by the ex-Debenhams workers still exists; I would call on An Tánaiste to make the €3m training fund established for the workers available as a cash payment, and also to enact legislation to ensure that in future no other workers fall victim to the same fate.”

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