Sinn Féin spokesperson for Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has this morning expressed grave concern after the confirmation of reports that Covid-19 vaccines at the private Beacon Hospital intended for frontline healthcare workers were given to staff at St Gerard’s private school in Bray, Co. Wicklow.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:
“We have long talked about a two-tier healthcare system; now we see that there is a two-tier vaccination priority.
“It is clear the Beacon hospital did not follow the guidelines, and that the decision taken here is unacceptable and totally wrong. It seems to have been a decision based on ‘who you know’ and connections rather than policy or true priority.
“There is huge frustration among the public generally, but also among school staff who are waiting for their opportunity.
“School staff across the country have been working extremely hard to make sure their students are safe and to keep the schools open. I am sure all staff would love the chance to receive the vaccine, but they are waiting their turn like everyone else.
“I would like to see teachers and school staff vaccinated as soon as possible, but there has to be equality among teachers and school staff, and not just because of who a school is connected to.
“It is alarming that this has been allowed to happen. Transparency and public buy-in is so important in the vaccine rollout, and stories like this do nothing but create tensions and anger.
“If anything, this story this morning should encourage the Minister for Education to up the ante in negotiations with her colleagues in the Department of Health.
“She should make sure that all school staff receive the vaccine as soon as possible, not through back channels and a ‘who you know’ mentality but through the official vaccination priority list.”