Education Ministers must make themselves available for scrutiny when Dáil returns

25 August 2020

·        Ministers must attend Education Committee

·        School Transport and absenteeism issues need to addressed

The Ministers with responsibility for Education and Special Education need to address the Dáil and Seanad in relation to school reopening when the Oireachtas resumes next week according to Labour Education Spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“I have written to the Business Committee to request that Ministers Foley and Madigan take questions in both the Dáil and Seanad in relation to school reopening. We need a full examination of the reopening plans and the Ministers and senior officials from the Department of Education also need to commit to attending a session of the Education Committee next week.

“We want to work constructively with the Minister and the Department but in order to do this they need to make themselves available for scrutiny. There are several issues that need to be urgently addressed and that is why the Labour Party wanted the Oireachtas to resume this week in advance of school reopening.

“The Ministers need to explain how they will address the concerns expressed by school transport providers who will not be able to procure enough vehicles in advance of next week to comply with NPHET advice to run at 50% capacity and how they will ensure the viability of privately operated school transport services who will not be able to economically justify running services at 50% capacity.

“Furthermore, there are issues that need to be addressed in relation to absenteeism and keeping a child with a high temperature home from school for a number of days. The Minister needs to explain how this will be cleared with TUSLA if a child is absent from school for more than twenty days.

“Labour want to work constructively with the Government to ensure that the return to school goes as smoothly as possible but in the Ministers need to stop hiding in the Department and make themselves available for questioning and commit to attending the Dáil, Seanad and Education Committee next week.

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