Plans for a return to work-from-home orders in the event of a major fuel crisis are the “prudent thing to do”, according to the business group IBEC.
An emergency planning exercise involving all the major State agencies and the Government late last month reportedly included a return to working from home for all non-essential workers.
The Irish Independent reports that the exercise examined three scenarios – with the return to working from home only proposed for the worst-case.
That scenario would also include a limit on all non-essential car travel, strict limits on the amount of fuel drivers can buy per transaction and reduced speed limits on motorways.
The plan would only come into force if gas and oil supplies could not meet demand for electricity generations or farmers preparing to cut silage.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, IBEC Chief Danny McCoy said a return to working from home is reasonable in an emergency situation.
“If there is no fuel available, transportation is going to be seriously impacted.
“The good news is, post-COVID, we know the economy can function substantially with a large proportion of people working from home.
“We also know that not everybody can work from home. In fact, less than half the population is office-based so we are talking about office workers in the main here.
“I think, in prioritisation, the Government’s exercise was the prudent thing to do.”
The government has yet to public any details about the plan – and Mr McCoy said IBEC is interested in learning what is to happen in less extreme scenarios.
“What do we do if there is a more gradual rationing of fuel,” he said. “What gets prioritisation.”
“I think that probably needs a little bit more decision-making at the level of the firm and the people involved.
“So, who comes in and who doesn’t come in might be a decision for [individual offices].”
Mr McCoy said there are many lessons to be learned from the Government’s previous emergency responses and noted that the pre-planning should ensure the country is not “caught flat-footed”.
You can listen back here: