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Munster pushes Taoiseach to act on Extreme Weather Bill to protect workers

27 February, 2018 - by Imelda Munster TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has today called on the government to prioritise Sinn Féin legislation which would amend the current law to provide certainty for workers, employers, and the emergency services during an extreme weather event.

Speaking after discussing the Bill with an Taoiseach in the Dáil this afternoon, Deputy Munster said:

“We are expected to experience a severe weather event this week. This weather event will make life very difficult for vulnerable members of society, and also for those who may feel obliged to travel to work in poor weather conditions.

“At the beginning of the month, my colleagues Gerry Adams TD and David Cullinane TD and I introduced the Extreme Weather Warning (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018 in order to provide certainty for workers, employers and the emergency services during an extreme weather event.

“The confusion during Storm Ophelia regarding what actions employers and workers in the private sector and self-employed persons should take during an extreme weather warning had tragic consequences.

“This Bill will provide for the safety of employees during certain severe weather warnings. It will enhance public safety and ensure the safety of rescue service personnel during such a weather warning.

“The Bill would also impose penalties on those who would put lives in danger through reckless behaviour when an extreme weather warning has been called. It seeks to give an Garda Síochána enhanced powers to pursue such behaviour.

“This afternoon in the Dáil, I asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to prioritise this legislation and bring the bill to second stage this week.  The Taoiseach declined to facilitate my request.

“As legislators, we must do everything we can to guide employers, protect workers, and strengthen the powers of emergency services in the case of severe weather warnings in order to prevent future tragedies. As we face into what is forecast to be a severe weather event, the Taoiseach’s lack of action on this matter is very disappointing.” 

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