LEGISLATION

Extreme Weather Bill moves forward to Dáil consideration

Adams says the legislation is being introduced after campaigning by Fintan Goss' family

Barry Landy

Reporter:

Barry Landy

Email:

barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Extreme Weather Bill moves forward to Dáil consideration

Gerry Adams TD wants support for the new bill.

The Extreme Weather Bill, which would aim to protect employees and emergency services during severe weather events, will go before the Dáil next week.

Drafted by Sinn Féin's Louth TDs Gerry Adams and Imelda Munster - with party spokesperson for workers rights David Cullinane - the bill would provide for the safety of employees during certain severe weather warnings, such as the Status Red warnings that were put in place country wide last October and again at the end of February. 

Having first introduced the bill in February, the Louth based duo aired their displeasure later that month that the bill received no backing to be fast tracked - however it will go before the Dáil chamber on Thursday next (April 19th) during Private Members Time

It wants to see designated Status Red Weather Warning days treated as public holidays, meaning both private and public sector employees can stay at home and be paid as if it were a working day.

Three people lost their lives across the country last October, as Storm Ophelia battered the country during a Status Red warning. Local man Fintan Goss died when a tree fell on his car as he returned home from work. The Ravensdale native left work early that day, due to the severe weather conditions. 

The bill also proposes imposing penalties on those who would put lives in danger through reckless behaviour when an extreme weather warning has been called, seeking to give An Garda Síochána enhanced powers to pursue such behaviour. 

It has reached the Second Stage now and Adams is urging cross party support for the bill. 

“The Bill’s objective is to provide guidelines for public sector employers and self-employed persons in the event of an extreme weather warning," he said. 

"The legislation would also impose penalties on those engaged in reckless behaviour in the midst of a severe weather warning. Last October Storm Ophelia claimed three lives, including Fintan Goss from Ravensdale. As a result of a campaign for stronger legislation by the family, Sinn Féin TDs introduced our legislation."

"At the end of March I wrote to all Oireachtas members asking them to support the Sinn Fein Bill," Adams continued. "I would appeal to the Government parties and opposition TDs to support this Bill when it comes into the Dáil next Thursday.”

Mr Goss, 33, was the sole occupant of his vehicle when it was struck by a tree on the old Dundalk to Newry Road as he made the short journey to his residence in Ballymakellet. He was well known locally for representing St Patricks GFC. 

In November, Mr Goss' widow Pamela wrote to members of the Oireachtas seeking clarity on the rules regarding whether employees of privately owned companies are obliged to travel to work during a Status Red Weather Warning.

 

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