Work progressing on council houses despite lockdown

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Building photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com

A GROUP of construction workers have been working in Limerick on essential local authority housing projects throughout the coronavirus restrictions, the Limerick Post can reveal.

They were granted special permits to work on the projects, which had been nearing completion prior to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aoife Duke, Director of Housing at Limerick City and County Council explained: “Our house building programme and the turn around of vacant properties is critical and we’ve been in discussion with the Department of Housing about it.”

“The workers are finishing vacant properties as well as additional housing for people who are under pressure, whether they are homeless, members of the Travelling community, or in overcrowded accommodation.

“We have got permits for contractors to continue work on those houses. It’s been very tightly managed in terms of health and safety, and also the timeframes for the turn around of the houses, because the COVID-19 restrictions obviously have an impact on access to materials, as well as the builders ability to get on with the job while physically distancing,” Ms Duke said.

“We have worked out a system where they have all got their permits and they are all following their physical distancing requirements while turning around the houses at speedy enough rate.”

The system has been “working extremely well”, she added.

A Council spokesman told the Limerick Post that workers with permits “have all been instructed to wear the appropriate PPE and practice social distancing”.

“Just like all essential workers, they have been working on council housing projects throughout the current restrictions. They must also ensure that the latest public health guidance should be followed at all times”.

He told the Limerick Post that work was continuing on 37 houses all over the city and county including the regeneration areas.

“These are houses that either don’t require much work or works that are almost completed to bring them back into use. The turnaround times for these homes would be quite short.

“Work has stopped on all other building sites and will resume as soon as the go ahead is given by the government”.

Those with housing or other needs can contact the Limerick COVID-19 Community Response on FreePhone 1800 832 005.