20 May 2022

'Schools and parents have not been listened to by Government' — Kildare Senator

'Schools and parents have not been listened to by Government' — Kildare Senator

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According to one Kildare Senator, schools and parents have not been listened to by Government.

It follows after the General Secretary of the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), John Boyle, said that 15 per cent of teaching staff, around seven or eight thousand teachers, will be absent because of Covid-19 when schools resume tomorrow.

Labour Senator Mark Wall told The Leinster Leader: "I believe Schools and parents have not been listened to by govt: it should have moved on HEPA filters long before the announcement of funding."

"I believe this announcement should have included a fast track delivery to all schools overseen by the Department and not depending on already hard pressed school management to arrange."

He continued: "Priority must be given to protecting our entire school communities, but the govt has been slow to do this.

"We need to see the urgent roll out of free antigen tests to homes, it is now becoming impossible to purchase them in our shops."

The Athy politician added that the Department of Education must provide contact tracing and antigen testing in schools from their re-opening tomorrow: "The public health advice is that we can open our schools.

"However, the govt should have already had HEPA filters in place; it should have had antigen testing in place, along with contact tracing, and it should be prioritising our most vulnerable school children for vaccination.

"Opening our schools is essential for our children but it must be done in the safest way possible," he concluded.

'Put the blame where it belongs':

Senator Wall clearly doubled down on his stance by recently liking a tweet from his party colleague, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD, which read: "Govt are hoping school re-opening debate will be row between parents & school staff with unions in the middle... DON’T FALL FOR IT."

"Children need to be at school, and Teachers/SNAs need safe workplace. Both statements are true. (The) Late announcement today exposes govt failures."

Mr O Ríordáin added in a follow up tweet: "Put the blame where it belongs."

"Minister (for Education, Norma Foley) didn’t respond to my request for meeting with all opposition education spokespersons when I wrote to her on Nov 16."

The Dublin Bay North TD concluded: "Demand resources for your school Demand support from the Dept & HSE Demand Hybrid Leaving Cert for 2022."

In related news, Senator Mark Wall recently called for clarity from the govt on how it plans address the rise of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

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