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How many more workers must die before Corporate Manslaughter Legislation is introduced – Morgan

13 February, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on workers rights Arthur Morgan TD speaking today following yet another workplace death said that the Government need to put worker health and safety "to the fore of Government agenda". This comes less than a week after he said that this Government was indifferent to worker deaths.

The Louth TD said, "Another person has died in their workplace this week after falling under the wheels of an earth moving machine. This is the second workplace fatality in Kerry in less than a week. It is not enough that the Health and Safety Authority attend the scene alongside the Gardai to conduct an investigation after a serious accident or fatality occurs. Corporate Manslaughter legislation must be introduced to protect workers from negligence.

"The fact that clearly the Government doesn't care one iota for health and safety of workers is as astonishing as it is disgusting. If they did, they would already have expanded the inadequate Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006 so that they actually go some way to preventing accidents in the workplace. I have asked Tony Killeen time and time again when his Department are going to introduce Corporate Manslaughter legislation and I receive the same reply that "at the time of the drafting of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 the Attorney General was of the opinion that there were much broader issues than safety, health and welfare at work which needed to be considered."

"I am asking Tony Killeen to go on the record and actually state what these "broader issues" are. What could be more important than the health and safety of our workforce? The Government obviously feel that being in the pockets of the likes of IBEC is more important than preventing workers from dying or being seriously injured in their workplaces. Tim Morley, a married father of two died in a Kerry worksite yesterday less than a week after 41 year old Gordon Richards also died on a site in Kerry. I am asking Tony Killeen how many more workers it will take to die in our workplaces before his Department introduces Corporate Manslaughter legislation.

"From the level of deaths it is crystal clear that the guidelines that are in place are unmistakably deficient. They are clearly not serving to protect workers. Anyone found to be responsible for negligence must be made criminally answerable. The Government has a moral obligation to act on this issue and put it to the fore of Government agenda."


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