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Six-week delay in providing childcare for healthcare workers ‘unacceptable’

Childcare facilities and schools were closed on March 12 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Brian Lawless/PA)

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Brian Lawless/PA)

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (Brian Lawless/PA)

The six-week delay in providing a childcare scheme for healthcare workers has been branded as “unacceptable” by the leader of the Labour Party.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) met on Tuesday to discuss Government proposals on providing childcare for frontline workers.

Alan Kelly said the Government has been promising a solution for healthcare workers since March 12.

Childcare facilities and schools were closed on March 12 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our healthcare workers are putting themselves on the line to protect us, they should not be out of pocket because of these restrictionsAlan Kelly, Labour leader

Speaking on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government has money to provide childcare but is seeking public health clearance from the NPHET.

Mr Kelly said: “Schools and creches closed over six weeks ago and we still have not seen a viable childcare solution for healthcare workers from Government that has been approved by NPHET.

“Yet here we are six weeks on with NPHET considering another proposal from Government.

“There was a proposal six weeks ago from Government to NPHET that clearly did not satisfy the health and safety parameters that NPHET have set out. What has changed in the proposal today?

“Healthcare workers from across the country have been contacting me who have been placed with an additional financial burden of nearly 1,000 euro a month for childcare for their children who are usually in school.

“Our healthcare workers are putting themselves on the line to protect us, they should not be out of pocket because of these restrictions.

“Unions that represent healthcare workers have outlined the stress that staff are under because of the lack of childcare available, with many taking sick days as a childcare stopgap. This isn’t acceptable.”

PA