Seanad debates

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Garret AhearnGarret Ahearn (Fine Gael)

I welcome the comments of the Taoiseach yesterday in reply to a question from Deputy Richmond on the roll-out of antigen testing for use in early childhood settings, Montessori schools and crèches. In his response he said there should be some fine tuning. I ask that we get the detail of the fine-tuning for that sector as a matter of urgency. All they are asking is that they be treated the same as those in school education. In recent days we have heard of the challenges in getting substitute teachers. The same challenges apply to crèches missing staff through Covid. They face the same challenges with children as schools do. I welcome that they are being treated the same as primary and secondary schools, but they need that detail as quickly as possible.

The challenge for those managing crèches and early childhood providers is that the decisions they make need to be supported by the HSE. A week ago, I welcomed that it is going to be done. When they make the decision to close pods or crèches, it is important that they have the backing of the HSE and have the backing of antigen testing for their employees. It gives more reassurance to the parents and to the providers that they are making the right decision.

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