Mary-Lou McDonald has described the experience of her children self-isolating after a case of coronavirus was detected at their school as “trying”.
The Sinn Fein leader announced over social media earlier this week that her family had been affected by the school closure.
She postponed two planned public meetings in Cavan and Galway as a consequence.
Home with the kids after a confirmed case of the coronavirus at their school. Iâm postponing meetings in Cavan + Galway as Iâd like to stay close to home. Stick to the medical advice, wash your hands with warm soapy water. Stay safe. https://t.co/07s79Wf6UV— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) March 2, 2020
There are six confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Republic of Ireland, as well as three in Northern Ireland – bringing the total number of cases on the island to nine.
Ms McDonald opened up about the experience during a Dail debate on the impact of Covid-19 on Wednesday.
She said it has been “no craic whatsoever” for her son and daughter.
“This week my own family has been affected, my two children attend the school that has been closed down, and my son and daughter are now self isolating at home,” she said.
“I can assure the Dail that their initial delight at the gift of two weeks off school has well and truly passed, and they have really learned the meaning of that saying ‘be careful of what you wish for’. It’s no visitors, no sports, no trips out with friends, no craic whatsoever and reality has dawned on them pretty quickly.
“So it’s a trying time and our family and our school community has been thrown a bit of a curve ball to say the least.
“I want to sincerely thank everyone who sent us good wishes over the last number of days, it’s deeply appreciated.
“There is a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty and I know that this will be the same for the families affected by the other school closures and many parents might worry as to how they speak with their children and their teenagers about the coronavirus.”
The Sinn Fein president advised other parents to be honest with their children over Covid-19, and not to dismiss their fears.
“So from my experience such as it is, my best advice is this, don’t dismiss their fears or concerns, be honest, keep it calm, keep it factual and above all make sure they know about the huge amount of work that is being done by so many people to fight the spread of this virus and to keep them safe,” she added.