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Cullinane marks Workers’ Memorial Day with corporate manslaughter legislation

26 April, 2013 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin senator, David Cullinane, has tabled a corporate manslaughter bill in the Seanad.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Workers’ Rights introduced the bill, on the eve of Workers’ Memorial Day aiming to have the proposals debated over the coming year.
He said: “For too long irresponsible employers have got off with small fines when they have been at fault for the death of a worker. Reckless employers must be held criminally liable for workplace accidents and fatalities.”
The proposals were first introduced by Arthur Morgan TD during the previous administration, based on proposals of the Law Reform Commission Report on Corporate Killing 2005, however the legislation lapsed before it could be debated.
Today Senator Cullinane claimed that corporate manslaughter legislation is urgently required to ensure that all employers fully comply with health and safety regulations.
“The shocking and enormous loss of life in the Bangladeshi textile factory collapse in recent days, underlines the human costs of employers taking risks with their workers’ lives. While, such a large scale tragedy is difficult to imagine here, we have seen accidents and tragedies which could have been avoided, but for the carelessness of employers.”
“Forty-seven people were killed in workplace accidents in this state last year, and while this was a decrease from 52, this is still far too many. Most workers died in the agriculture sector, but many in construction too.
“Corporate manslaughter legislation is already in place in many other states, including in Britain and in the North.”
“It provides that where an undertaking causes the death of a person by gross negligence it is an offence of ‘‘corporate manslaughter’, which carries a penalty of up to 12 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.”
“In addition, a person who fails to abide by a disqualification order under the bill will be liable to a fine up to €3,500,000 or imprisonment for a term up to two years, or both.
“We hope that the government will support us in our efforts to have the long-overdue legislation enacted.”

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