Viable childcare solution needed for healthcare staff

21 April 2020

Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly TD, has said the delay to rolling out a childcare scheme for frontline health workers has been unacceptable.

This comes as the National Public Health Emergency Team are due to discuss childcare provisions for healthcare workers.

Deputy 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.

“The Government have been promising a solution for healthcare workers since the 12th of March, 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 €1000 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.

“Many frontline healthcare workers are relying on the kindness of their friends, families and neighbours as a temporary stopgap for childcare provision. This is not a reliable solution as those who are providing the childcare may get sick or have to deal with the unknown unknowns of their lives.

“Many healthcare professionals who have made Ireland their home and are far away from their families and close friends and they don’t have the same option of availing of childcare from their relatives.

“I hope the proposal put forward by Government is passed by NPHET today and if it isn’t I hope that the Government won’t be in a position where they spend another 6 weeks coming up with a proposal to ensure our healthcare heroes lives are made that little bit easier.”

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