News & Media

Questions remain around Government decision to recommend teachers and students wear facemasks

8 August 2020

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

Questions remain around the Government decision to recommend teachers and students wear facemasks according to Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

The updated recommendations were published by the Department following engagement with education stakeholders.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“There are a number of questions that need to be clarified by the Minister before schools return in less than three weeks and she needs to outline whether this is a requirement that will mandate students to wear masks or a recommendation.

“Minister Foley also needs to clarify who will provide this PPE. Labour has already called for the Government to provide reusable face masks to each household in the country. This would cost around €60 million but would be money well spent given the importance of facemasks in the fight against Covid-19. If schools are going to be required to provide facemasks, then the Minister needs to allocate additional funding to them immediately to give them enough time to obtain an adequate supply of masks.

“There are also questions in relation to vulnerable youths wearing mask including students in Youth Reach and especially students with additional needs such as those with cochlear implants who are very vary about wearing facemasks and students who need to lip read in order to communicate.

Ó Ríordáín continued:

“Students have already had enough uncertainty this year and while I would cautiously welcome yesterday's announcement, Minister Foley needs to move to give them clarity and address these outstanding issues.