Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has committed Sinn Féin to publishing corporate manslaughter legislation before the next election. This was in reaction to Bertie Ahern announcing that the Government had no plans to bring it in.
“Scores of people are dieing in their workplaces every year while their employers escape any serious punishment. In 2005 only 40 employers were prosecuted for breaches of Health and Safety law and the average fine was an insulting and truly pathetic €7,000. Hardly a deterrent, it serves more as a nod and a wink from this Government to workplace safety violations. No Irish employer has served a day in prison for criminal negligence resulting in the death of an employee.
“In the coming months, Sinn Féin will propose in the Dáil our own draft legislation on corporate manslaughter. We would welcome not just support from other parties and the broad trade union movement, but also constructive criticism of our proposals to ensure our proposals are strong enough, and the deterrents tough enough, to make a real difference in tackling the numbers of workplace fatalities.”
I agree with Arthur, this is a problem that needs to be tackled.
Too many employers play fast and loose with the lives of Irish workers. Perhaps if they were faced with a criminal charge and a hefty fine that might help focus their minds.
Even if any future law saved only one life, it would have been worth the effort.