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. Kieran Christie:
As I mentioned earlier, access to the Department of Education was never a real issue. What was an issue prior to Hallowe'en was access to the medical advisers to which they had access in the HPSC. As I mentioned earlier, we wrote to the HPSC seeking a meeting and it was refused. We wrote to the Minister for Health seeking a meeting with the HPSC and it was still refused. The inevitable had to be bowed to. Now we are having meetings and that is great but it was only in the week before Hallowe'en that that became a feature. It will now be a weekly feature. The quality of the information we are getting is improving all the time and we are seeking clarity. Deputy Conway-Walsh asked a question that was asked as recently as yesterday at these meetings. We await the answer.
This will all be positive in terms of managing the situation in the months ahead and we look forward to that. In the area around close contacts and so on, there is still an enormous amount of communication to be done by the public health officials to keep everybody's nerves calmed and to reassure people.