Belfast Telegraph

'Common sense' urged on cross-border builders' row

By Staff Reporter

A health and safety firm is calling for "common sense" to prevail in an apparent disagreement on builders' qualifications on either side of the border.

Health and safety qualifications vary slightly between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but have previously been mutually acceptable.

But Industry Training Services (ITS) in Portadown claimed some local authorities in the Republic have now told contractors they won't accept workers without southern accreditation.

Brendan Crealey, founder of ITS, said: "We now have a situation in Northern Ireland where employers are happy to accept Republic of Ireland cards because they know it is a good scheme, but we are not seeing the opposite happening south of the border."

And he urged politicians on both sides of the border to "get their heads together and apply some common sense" to resolve the situation.

Malcolm Keys, owner of Mills Contracts in Dromore, Co Tyrone, said the problem was putting many firms off contracting for jobs in the Republic.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said political uncertainty is threatening the recovery in the Northern Ireland construction sector.

The FMB said a slump in construction activity in the last three months of 2016 showed that recovery could not be taken for granted. Director Gavin McGuire said: "The precariousness of the recovery is what makes the latest round of political uncertainty so frustrating."

Belfast Telegraph