August 4, 2021

‘Grave concerns’ – Kilkenny TD hits out as confusion mounts over vaccine rollout

A Kilkenny TD has accused the Government of failing to take the health and safety of childcare and early years educators seriously.

Deputy Kathleen Funchion claimed the concerns of those working in the childcare and early years sector are being ignored as the Government allows their facilities to reopen. The sector is one of the first to be allowed to leave the tougher Level 5 restrictions. Meanwhile, primary, secondary and third-level education has not resumed, with no timeline on when students will return.

Deputy Funchion, who is Sinn Féin’s children spokesperson, called for all those working in the childcare sector to be vaccinated “as a matter of urgency”.

The Kilkenny TD said: “It must be pointed out that childcare and early years educators are some of the lowest paid professionals in the wider education sector and yet they were expected to resume their roles whilst their colleagues in primary and secondary schools were able to resume remote teaching.

“All educators must be treated equally and the health and safety of everyone working in the wider education sector must be a priority for Government.”

Deputy Funchion said there are “grave concerns” about staff safety amid confusion about the rollout of the vaccinate programme.

She added: “I am also little alarmed at the amount of emails and phone calls I am getting from those working in the sector who are really worried about their health and safety as the nation gets to grips with this dangerous and frightening third wave of Covid-19.

“The Government must show their commitment to improving the wages and working conditions for our early years educators and immediately address the scandalous wage inequality and act to protect these workers.

“I have contacted the Minister to relay my concerns around the resumption of childcare and early years and to ask that these vital educators are vaccinated as a matter of urgency,” Deputy Funchion added.





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