October 21, 2020
Action needed on school specific contact tracing – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Minister for Education and the Minister for Health to deliver school specific tracing as a matter of urgency.

Speaking today from Leinster House, the Cork South Central TD has said;

“The situation regarding tracing in schools is simply not good enough. The INTO has described it as shambolic and it is undermining the faith of school staff and parents in the safety of schools. I am anxious to see these concerns dispelled, but we need significant action to address that. Tracing is a key element of this.

“Last Saturday, I expressed my concern at reports in the Irish Examiner that children who were being supported by an SNA, and who were not wearing masks, were not deemed close contacts.

“I am regularly made aware of situations where school staff who are close contacts are only being informed several days after a positive test arrives. They are concerned that in the interim – because they have been kept in the dark – they have not been able to limit their movements.

“There are also concerns about who is a close contact and a casual contact. Some have raised with me their fear that a different approach is being taken to who is a close contact in schools.

“I would hope very much that that fear can be dispelled, but that can only be done by bringing a rigorous and comprehensive approach to testing and tracing in schools.

“The Minister for Education yesterday said that there will be specific tracing teams for schools. I welcome that and it is necessary. However, so far we have no further information on this, beyond a comment from the Minister on RTÉ radio.

“We need to know what is meant by this, how this will be delivered, when it will be delivered and what it will look like. This is vital.”