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BAM called on to stop construction on National Children's Hospital site

Paul Murphy said that “They are putting the workers in danger by continuing to operate at the site”.

The National Children's Hospital.
The National Children's Hospital.
Image: Eamonn Farrell via RollingNews.ie

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY BAM has been criticised for continuing construction on the National Children’s Hospital site at St James’, despite the government instructing that all non-essential work cease to slow the spread of Covid-19.

The company said that it had sought clarity on whether construction on the Children’s Hospital counted as essential work, but hadn’t received clarification yet. 

Trade Union Unite said that a concrete pour was taking place at the National Children’s Hospital construction site, and said it showed that the building was more important than the health of “workers, their families and the communities they live in”.

In a statement today, BAM said that has followed all official government and HSE guidelines in relation to the operation of its sites “in recent weeks and has had the welfare of its staff and contractors as its top priority”. 

BAM said that after the government’s advice last week, it was announced that construction was to cease except for “very large construction projects”. 

It said that it “immediately” asked for clarity from the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) on whether to cease construction, and is still waiting for a response. 

The statement continued:

Given the scale of this project and its importance to the State, BAM today continued to operate the NCH project at a reduced level of activity and adhering to the strictest of safety procedures for all workers, whilst awaiting clarification from its employer. BAM is also undertaking separate Covid-19 related work on the main campus at the request of St James’ Hospital. 

The BAM Intel site

BAM also spoke about construction on its Intel site in Co Kildare. 

“Work also continued today, subject to the same safety procedures, at BAM’s Intel site, which was understood to be classified as essential.

“Most of BAM’s other sites around the country had already closed, with the exception of critical Motorway Maintenance work and essential Facilities Management, all in line with official guidance and following instruction from the relevant employers.

BAM has this afternoon received clarification that the work at Intel is to cease. Work on this project will cease from this evening until further notice. We are keeping our other operations under constant review with regard to evolving Government and health and safety guidelines.

Rise TD Paul Murphy said that “many non-essential companies appear to be ignoring the instruction to close”. Speaking on FM104, he said:

“I think it’s really outrageous by BAM. It’s very blatantly placing their interest in private profit before public health. They are putting the workers in danger by continuing to operate at the site.” 

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