Some county council staff members 'afraid' to return to work amid fears of catching coronavirus

Some county council staff members 'afraid' to return to work amid fears of catching coronavirus
Cork County Council workers filling in the potholes. Picture Denis Minihane.

COUNTY council workers who have been asked to return to work this week have said they are afraid of catching the virus and passing it on to a loved one with health issues.

West Cork Councillor Danny Collins told County Hall he has been contacted by a number of council staff who are living with family members that have underlying health issues who have told him they are scared of returning to work.

Raising the issue, the Independent Councillor asked was it necessary to bring these individuals back to work and queried if the council could not await the announcement from the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on the potential lifting of restrictions.

Chief Executive Tim Lucey responded to the query saying the local authority is still operating under national guidance and is responding to the constantly evolving situation.

“There has been no directive that all staff are to return to work, but certainly we are preparing to see what might emerge, post May 5, and there are circumstances where some staff may be called on this week to respond to issues on the ground and that flexibility is given to area engineers to respond to issues of an urgent nature.” Mr Lucey said he was satisfied that any staff member returning to work was doing so safely.

“There are appropriate operational procedures in place to ensure they are working in a safe environment.” The Chief Executive also said that the council has received great support from their staff to date, both indoor and outdoor employees, who have facilitated working through flexible arrangements.

“We had some of our street cleaners up early, out at 6.30am, to reduce the risk to the public and themselves.

“I would compliment those who are working with us and being flexible and I am satisfied that any additional return to work will be done safely and in the appropriate manner.”

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