News & Media

Minister needs to announce a financial package this week, if schools are to return in September

7 July 2020

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
Aodhan

The Minister for Education needs to announce a financial package this week, if schools are to return in September as intended according to Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Ó Ríordáin was speaking after a meeting of the Special Committee on Covid Response that was addressed by the Irish Primary Principal Network President Damian White.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“Minister Foley needs to announce a financial package this week, if there is any hope of schools reopening at the end of August, as she has publicly stated is her aim. The Department need to commit to frontloading the cost of any additional measures’ schools will need to allow them to reopen safely.

“We heard today from the IPPN President that school management are concerned about the current level of resourcing in schools. He gave the example of a school with 1000 students only having one cleaner and that additional funding needs to be put in place to allow this school to employ an extra cleaner to implement additional sanitation measures, if necessary.

“A school may also need to reconfigure classrooms or put extra sanitation measures in place such as additional handwashing facilities and they need the financial resources to arrange for this work to be carried out as soon as possible. Furthermore, no school should be losing teachers when there is a clear need for smaller classes.  

Ó Ríordáin continued:

“Time is running out and if schools are to reopen in the Autumn, then they need the financial resources to put the necessary measures in place now. If Minister Foley could prioritise a package of financial supports for a school in her own constituency then surely, she can do the same for the rest of the country.