Farmers aged over 70 ‘can continue to work’ – but caution needed

Older farmers aged over 70 can continue to work – but must be very careful about not coming into close contact with others, according to a Government spokesperson today, Monday, March 30.

Following the new restrictions announced by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Friday, March 27, to limit the spread of Covid-19, the public has been told not to go to work until April 12 – unless that work is deemed to be “an essential service”.

However, with agricultural workers deemed to be “essential workers”, the question of what elderly farmers should do comes to the fore.

‘Common sense’

In a briefing delivered this morning by Elizabeth Canavan, assistant secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach, this question was answered.

In her address, Canavan said: “Generally speaking, we want everyone over 70 to stay at home and not leave. However, some common sense applies here.

“If you are over 70 working in an essential area and you can do that remotely, without coming in face-to-face contact with other people, or without touching surfaces that other people may have sneezed on, then you can continue to work – for example, a healthcare professional doing teleconsultation from their home.

This would also include the older farming community but again, they must be very careful about not coming into close contact with others. Older farmers should ring family members if they need help.

“If that’s not possible and the job is essential, please ring your local community support helpline – one in each local authority area – or the local Garda station,” the assistant secretary general concluded.