Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on the Minister for Education to engage with her cabinet colleagues to make sure that school staff are not left behind in the vaccination rollout.
Speaking today, Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“I am horrified to hear that the cabinet is considering throwing away the plans for the vaccine rollout, and removing any prioritisation for staff working in education.
“The government’s approach to vaccine rollout has been chaotic. The plans have been chopped and changed and, once again, we are hearing this news today from the media and not directly from a government minister. It really isn’t good enough and is insulting to those affected.
“It doesn’t make sense that someone without an underlying condition and who is able to work from home could get the vaccine in advance of teaching staff, who must go to work every day and support our young people.
“The government have paid lip service to the importance of education, while in the same breath have removed any prioritisation for staff working in our schools. It is unbelievable.
“On a number of occasions, I have urged Minister Foley to engage with the HSE and NIAC to see if school staff could be considered for even greater priority on the vaccine list, given the importance of their role and their often inability to properly social distance in the classroom.
“It is shocking that not only did the Minister not secure this greater priority, but she has allowed her cabinet colleagues to strip school staff of any priority at all.
“School staff urgently need clarity on when they will receive the vaccine, and the least they deserve is the Department of Education arguing their case for greater priority.
“To remove this priority from those working in our schools is absolutely disgraceful.”