Public safety during extreme weather events must be top priority – Denise Mitchell TD
Sinn Féin Dublin Bay North TD Denise Mitchell has said a Sinn Féin bill aimed at providing clear guidelines to employers and staff during extreme weather event will help keep the public safe.
Speaking in the Dáil on Thursday during a debate on the Extreme Weather Bill 2018, Deputy Mitchell said:
“During Storm Ophelia there was a lot of confusion over what actions employers and staff should take. This led to situations where staff traveled and put themselves in danger for fear of the consequences of missing a day’s work.
“We also saw staff commuting into work in places like Dublin City Centre and other urban centres but then becoming stranded because buses and trains shut down early.
“So I believe this Bill, which will provide guidelines to employers to put the safety of their staff first is very welcome. These red weather alerts are very rare but they are there for a reason.”
Deputy Mitchell also noted the loss of life which occurred during Storm Ophelia:
“I think this Bill provides clarity for the public and for employers. Hopefully it will help ensure that such tragedies do not happen again.
"This Bill represents the first steps in ensuring that workers are protected during extreme weather events.”
Deputy Mitchell also welcomed a provision in the Bill for the imposition of fines on those engaged in reckless behaviour during red weather alerts:
“During Storm Ophelia many of us were shocked when we saw on TV reports of people going swimming and for walks along cliff faces during a Status Red Alert.
“These people were not only putting their own lives in danger but those of our emergency services. So anything which discourages people from such reckless behaviour is to be welcomed.”