Section 39 workers in disability services must receive the Covid bonus payment

Duncan Smith TD
27 January 2022

Labour health spokesperson Duncan Smith has demanded that government provide the covid bonus payment to all workers in the disability sector, including section 39 organisations. Following confirmation by Minister McGrath that home help workers would receive the pandemic bonus, Deputy Smith said that workers providing disability service, like all healthcare workers, went above and beyond the call of duty to protect the most vulnerable and this risk must be rewarded.

Deputy Smith said:

“I was deeply concerned to hear that workers from the disability services sector were to be excluded from the once-off bonus. Many of us know first-hand the sacrifices made by these frontline workers to care for our loved ones. These workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty for Ireland over the past year and this effort must be recognised by government. Minister Donnelly needs to step up and fight for these workers to ensure they are in receipt of the €1,000 bonus.

“Their very exclusion from the original scheme suggests to me that the Minister is divorced from the reality of these workers’ lives and the lives of those accessing disability services. These people continued to go to work on the frontline in residential settings during active Covid outbreaks. They isolated from family to protect themselves and the service users. Many workers transferred from day services to residential settings throughout the pandemic to ensure that people were cared for.

“In my own constituency in Fingal, I have spoken with workers who donned PPE and worked in congregated settings and Covid community isolation hubs which were being established in collaboration with the HSE in March 2020. These heroes, like our cleaners, porters, nurses in hospitals, must have their efforts recognised.

“As we come out of Covid, we need to look at how we treat care in this country. A key priority for me and the Labour Party is to ensure that our disability services receive real focus and funding from government. Minister Donnelly needs to step up and fight for workers in the disability sector whose hard work must be acknowledged.”

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