Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (31)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

31. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the process and procedures to which an Irish employer must adhere in order for seasonal agricultural workers who are EU citizens to travel here and commence work as prescribed essential workers for the spring, summer and autumn seasons; and the Covid-19 mitigation measures the workers must undertake before arriving and on arrival. [6976/21]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

Any mitigation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for those travelling into Ireland for essential work are primarily a matter for the Department of Transport, Department of Health and the Department of Justice. Any processes or procedures an essential worker or an employer might have to comply with, before arriving or on arrival in Ireland, would be based on the current public health advice.

From the 4th of February 2021, mandatory quarantine was introduced for all passengers arriving in Ireland, including those coming to work . Under the current regulations, only specific categories of travellers, these are listed on www.gov.ie, are exempt from completing mandatory quarantine. This list does not include seasonal agricultural workers.

All passengers arriving into Ireland are required to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form and quarantine for 14 days at the place of residence as stated on the form. In addition, all passengers are required to have a negative / ‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. These passengers can stop quarantining once they get a negative PCR test, taken no less than 5 days after arrival. Anyone arriving into Ireland from South Africa or Brazil must quarantine for the full 14 days from the date of arrival into Ireland, even if they obtain a negative PCR test during this time.

As the Deputy may be aware, additional measures to support mandatory quarantining are under consideration by Government.

In relation to workplaces, the Work Safely Protocol sets out the measure every employer is required to take when an employee starts work or returns to work after an absence. The Health and Safety Authority together with other inspectorates from across Government are carrying out inspections to ensure compliance with the Protocol.