Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 19 November 2020
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills
Engagement with Trade Unions on Keeping Schools Open: Discussion
Mr. John Boyle:
While I thank the Deputy for making that proposal it is ironic that he is doing so. I discovered only this week that fewer than 20% of the children of Ireland have taken up the vaccine, or their parents have chosen to do so. It is ironic that the Deputy would be asking us to promote this at a time when his Government has denied the front-line workers in the classrooms the same vaccine. Nevertheless, we are there for the safety of the children, as well as the teachers. We will help out but we would like a rethink on the free vaccine for teachers. I am aware that they are available in some chemists, which are providing the vaccine for free because they recognise the importance of schools being open for the economy and for their own workplaces.
On the Covid-19 vaccine, I believe that a different approach will have to be taken by the Government. I cannot emphasise this enough. It will be critical for keeping schools open and for showing the workers in the schools that the Government really values the work they have done to get the schools reopened since September.