Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has warned that flaws in the scheme to provide childcare for healthcare workers cannot be allowed to derail plans to re-open childcare and crèche facilities as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
Her comments follow confirmation that the childcare scheme collapsed after childcare workers were told that insurers would not cover their participation in the scheme, nor would the government indemnify it despite being repeatedly warned about the issue.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta McDonald expressed her alarm at the situation and urged the Taoiseach to ensure the same issues will not undermine the eventual re-opening of childcare facilities.
“Might we face a situation in June, heaven forbid, where the Taoiseach announces the reopening of childcare and crèche facilities, but insurers either refuse to cover the risk or insist that the premiums of childcare providers balloon again?
“This must be about ensuring that every parent has the childcare cover he or she needs, that childcare workers have jobs to return to and the government must act.
“The Taoiseach promised workers on the frontline that they would have childcare support; he can act now to make sure that is the case.”
In response to his remarks in the Dáil today, that he was unaware of the insurance issue until he heard about it on the news, Teachta McDonald urged the Taoiseach to ensure better consideration and management of this crucial policy.
“I am alarmed to hear that the Taoiseach did not know that this problem existed. He should have known.
“I want the Taoiseach to ensure that people who put their lives and their safety on the line for the rest of us have the childcare that was promised to them. That means the State has to intervene where the insurance industry will not.”