Senator welcomes Phased Reopening of construction

The impact of a 13 week shutdown on homebuilding will be considerable this year so there will be a lot of ground to make up, says Sen Gallagher.

A local senator has welcomed the announcement of the phased reopening of construction, set to begin on April 12.

“From April 12th all residential construction projects can recommence and the construction of Early Learning Childcare and School Aged Childcare facilities will be added to the list of essential services for construction activity,” said Fianna Fail's Robbie Gallagher. “This aligns with the current exemption to primary and secondary schools and to allow important fire safety works to progress. A complete reopening of construction will be considered from May 4th, subject to public health guidance at the time.”

The impact of a 13 week shutdown on homebuilding will be considerable this year so there will be a lot of ground to make up, says Sen Gallagher.

“It’s clear from the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) advice that we are still in a precarious situation in terms of the transmission of the virus. The priority must be to continue to supress it as much as possible while the vaccination rollout is ramped up.”

The shutdown in the construction sector in January was a response to the need to curtail the movement of people, regards Sen Gallagher, who noted that the sector overall has shown “considerable agility” in adapting swiftly to Covid measures, putting in place strict health and safety protocols on sites. “These measures have proven successful with no evidence the construction sector has been a driver of infections. As we begin to reopen it’s even more critical that the measures adopted by the sector are adhered to rigidly,” he said.

The Residential Tenancies Bill 2021 was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas last week extends for a further three months (from 13 April 2021 to 12 July 2021) the application of separate and targeted protections for the most vulnerable tenants who are economically impacted by Covid-19, are in rent arrears and are at risk of losing their tenancies.

Significant State income supports, including Rent Supplement, are available from the Department of Social Protection to assist tenants to pay their rent.

“Local Authorities are also supporting the HSE on the coordination of the 38 mass vaccination centres across the country while also assisting them in establishing pop-up testing centres and the Community Call Fora, also run by the Local Authorities continue their work providing practical supports, such as the collection and delivery of essential food and medicines to those cocooning, as well as support for those experiencing isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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