27 May 2020
By Bryan Smyth
No process for renewing Safe Passes which expired before 1st March 2020, due to COVID19
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan has called on the Minister for Business and the Minister for Education to work together to resolve the issue around Safe Passes which is preventing construction workers from getting back on site.
All construction workers must have a valid Safe Pass, but anyone whose pass expired before March 1st has been left in limbo and cannot get back to work.
Deputy O’Sullivan explained, “In March, the government announced that it would extend all Safe Passes which were due to expire after 1st March, but I’ve been contacted by a number of construction workers who are caught in a bind because their Safe Pass expired before the 1st of March and there is no way for them to renew it as the courses have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
“These workers want to get back on site, but they can’t without their Safe Passes. This is having an impact, not only on the workers themselves, but also on the construction companies, who are trying to their projects up and running again. If they can’t get the workers on site, it will further delay already stalled developments.
“Many of the workers who have contacted me have already been in touch with Solas but haven’t gotten 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 the relevant Ministers but am still waiting on a reply. We need clarity for these workers. Can Safe Passes which expired in the months before March be extended or is there a timeline for the resumption of Safe Pass courses?
“We need answers to these questions as soon as possible. Construction workers want to get back on site and their companies want them back on the job too. This situation needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency”, concluded Deputy O’Sullivan.