Questions over competence of Education Department must be answered

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
29 October 2020
  • Minister needs to be appear before Education Committee
  • Sanatiser debacle latest in long list of Dept foul-ups
  •  Is the Department fit for purpose to lead 4,000 schools through pandemic?

Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D has described the Department of Education as having serious questions to answer on its competency and whether it is fit for purpose to steer schools through the Covid crisis after it was revealed that the Department has recalled more than 50 sanitising products supplied to schools following a review of all biocidal products included in the Education Sector PPE procurement agreement.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“It is clear from this latest debacle that there are questions of competency for the Department of Education and whether it is fit for purpose and capable to safely steer schools through the Covid crisis.

“I wrote to the Chair of the Education Committee calling on Minister Foley to attend the committee this week on foot of the situation with the defective ViraPro sanitiser. Given the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in following the recall of more than 50 products, I would again reiterate my call for her to attend an emergency meeting of the committee as soon as possible.

“We need to know who knew what and when, if the Minister was aware of the scale of the problem before today and if so, why she failed to inform the Dáil. We also need an explanation as to why the Departments internal controls managed to allow so many products that “cannot be considered fully safe” into our schools.

“School leaders are fast losing faith in the Department and Minister, and school leaders are now faced with working through the entire Midterm and the upcoming weekend scrambling to try and withdraw the products and secure replacement stock before Monday morning.

“We need answers from the Minister in relation to this latest in a long line of calamities from the Department of Education who cannot seem to competently oversee getting 4000 schools through this crisis. The Minister needs to lead from the front by agreeing to appear before the Education Committee as soon as possible.”

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