Hundreds of construction workers cannot return to work without Safe Pass – Cahill

Published on: 27 May 2020

Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says he’s been contacted by construction workers who cannot return to work because they cannot renew their Safe Pass as no courses are running.

As part of Phase 1 of the roadmap for reopening society and business, construction sites reopened last week, however workers require a valid Safe Pass to be on site.

Deputy Cahill explained, “I have had builders and other construction workers call my office last week frustrated that while their sites are open again, they cannot return to work because they don’t have a valid Safe Pass. Back in March the government announced an extension on passes that were due to expire after 1st March, but there is nothing to cover construction workers whose passes expired before then.

“This situation is further compounded by the fact that there are no Safe Pass courses being held and therefore there is no way for these workers to update or renew their Safe Pass. They have effectively been locked out of work through no fault of their own.

“One construction company has been in touch to say that it relies on new recruits to keep its business going but it can’t take on any new workers because they can’t get a Safe Pass. I know these workers have been in touch with Solas but have failed to get any answers as to what they should do.

“Recruitment firms are also being hit – for many of them this is their bread and butter business, but if construction sites are not fully operational there is no need for ancillary services like food and catering. Many of these companies are dependent on the construction sector getting back up and running, but the issue with the Safe Pass could put that on hold.

“I have submitted a Parliamentary Question to Minister Breen calling for clarity. Can Safe Passes which expired in the months before March be extended and does he have any timeline for the resumption of Safe Pass courses?

“Unless these issues are addressed there will be issues on construction sites, not only in Tipperary, but right across the country. People are anxious to get back to work, but the current situation with the Safe Passes is preventing both new and experienced workers from getting back on site. These issues need to be resolved quickly”, concluded Deputy Cahill.