Frank Kelly: No benefit to leaving any building sites closed

No other country in the world has locked down its construction sector because of the pandemic. Why have we?

Last year’s lockdown wiped €2 billion off the industry’s output and 80 per cent of this loss occurred in non-residential projects, according to the Construction Industry Federation. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto

The construction industry can begin building homes again on Monday after 14 weeks of shutdown. That means approximately 75 per cent of the industry is reopened. However, an estimated 20,000 workers will be left on the pandemic unemployment payment until at least May 4, as the government has deemed the commercial building sector will remain closed.

This decision is unjustified. Each week, the HSE shows minimal cases of Covid-19 in construction. At last count, 145 ...