Transparency needed from Government on School Reopenings, Vaccinations and Case Numbers

03 January 2021
  • NPHET should carry out risk assessment of school reopenings.
  • More information and daily updates on vaccinations required.
  • Full explanation needed for delays in reporting Covid-19 cases.

Nearly two weeks on since the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was cleared for use in Ireland, Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly TD has repeated his call for transparency and daily updates on the vaccination programme, for a full explanation on the delays in Covid reporting, and for a public health risk assessment from NPHET on reopening schools in a weeks time.

Deputy Kelly said:

“With skyrocketing cases and our hospitals at risk of being overrun, it’s clear now the wrong decisions were made in December and there has been too much socialisation, but we all have our part to play now to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“There are three main issues I want to see immediately addressed by the Government.

“Firstly, how can the Department of Education say today that schools will open in a week’s time without any public health assessment? The Labour Party has called on the government to ask NPHET to make a risk assessment on reopening schools from January 11th and agree to abide by that public health advice. Our first preference is for schools to reopen, but it must be safe to do so. There must also be childcare options available for essential healthcare workers.

“Secondly, I am concerned about the rollout of the vaccine and the lack of transparency. Where are the daily reports on the numbers of people who have received a dose of the vaccine? The Government and Stephen Donnelly in particular have over promised on delivery and now keep changing their plans whether it’s the timing of second doses or administration in nursing homes. There is an urgent need to give daily updates on numbers of people vaccinated, vaccine procurement and the implementation plan. Let’s give people hope.

“Finally, we still need a full explanation as to why cases were not being properly reported as we’ve never been told of this technical issue before, and before the lifting of restrictions in November and December we repeatedly called for a robust testing and tracing system. We need transparency on the reasons for the delays in reporting cases, and what will be done to prevent this recurring.

“Honesty with the public is essential now to restore trust. The Taoiseach simply shouldn’t have used the UK variant as an excuse for rising case numbers when he didn’t have any evidence to back it up. The Government should now just accept that and work with everyone in a transparent way to get on top of this situation.”

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