As Ireland moves into a more intensive stage of mitigating the impacts and spread of Covid-19, the Irish Government outlined several measures including the cessation of non-essential construction activity. This necessary move compounds the economic impact felt by Geoscience Ireland member companies.
Hubert Fitzpatrick, COO of CIF, stated: "Following the Taoiseach's statement, all workers must stay at home in all circumstances except where work is an essential health, social care or other essential service that cannot be done from home. According to Minister Simon Harris, construction is not deemed as essential unless it relates to works which are essential to combating the COVID-19 pandemic".
Construction (and extraction of required raw materials) is a key sector for GI members. The value chain of infrastructure development draws on expertise within GI including site investigation and environmental consultancy, geotechnical engineering, planning and public consultation, material and equipment supply.
Since outline restrictions were announced in mid-March, the 40 members comprising GI outlined concerns and impacts including the criticality of construction activity, materials supply, land access difficulties for field works including surveying; the overarching concern focussed on national budget implications and postponed investment decisions when the true cost of the CV-19 impact is understood.
Internationally, several GI companies have reported that site closures and project delays are occurring in target markets including sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, India and South America; some civil projects and mining activities remain ongoing (conforming to CV19 best practice).
Several GI companies are operating remotely and completing engineering and environmental design projects, advising clients on project continuity and some have transferrable skills and technology which is being used directly in assisting in CV-19 mitigation.
GI will continue to work with its members and stakeholders to inform national enterprise and export bodies on the real-time issues as they arise in this evolving landscape.