Clarity for private sector in national emergencies- Fitzpatrick

-   Peter Fitzpatrick TD

Private sector businesses and self-employed people will be provided early next year with clear guidelines on what to do in the event of a national weather emergency such as Storm Ophelia.
Fine Gael TD for Louth, Peter Fitzpatrick, said it is important that standards are established to prevent unnecessary deaths in future weather events following the tragic deaths of three people, including Louth man Fintan Goss, during last month’s storm.
Deputy Fitzpatrick said: “The Taoiseach confirmed to me yesterday (Wednesday) in the Dáil that a report will be carried out and submitted to Cabinet in January 2018 on the response to Storm Ophelia.
“One of the issues it will examine is how we can better define what public safety warnings mean.
“It is acknowledged that there is a very clear mechanism in place for closing schools and public offices, but there was an element of confusion regarding what private sector businesses and self-employed persons should do.
“The Taoiseach acknowledged that there is a shortcoming in this area from which we as a Government intend to learn.
“It is hoped we will give some clarity on this issue on which we should have an answer by January.”
Deputy Fitzpatrick continued: “I received a devastating email from Pamela Goss, the wife of Mr Fintan Goss who left for work on Monday, 16 October last and did not come home. He died on his way from work in Dundalk during Storm Ophelia.
“The lack of clarity around emergency guidelines for private sector workers is the reason Fintan Goss’ children have no father, his wife Pamela has no husband and the Goss family has lost a son and brother.
“The Taoiseach conveyed the condolences of the country and Government to the Goss family and stated the most important issue was to ensure no one else loses his or her life.
“I welcome that steps are being taken to ensure this never happens again.”

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